Often the first time students and families get to see the school each year is at Open House or Fall Orientation. For some, this is the third or fourth or fifth time they’ve been to back-to-school events in a building. For others, it is their first time. This is our chance to set the tone for the year, to make families feel welcome and to make students feel special.
And boy did our schools get that job done. Teachers handed out Blow Pops that said, “thanks for popping in.” They had remarkable door decorations. There were balloons and music and mascots. It was energizing.
Then on Wednesday we had what is, for me, the most exciting day of the year, the first day of school. One of the things I like most about working in education is that we get a fresh start every year. The quote below is one of my favorites. It is an excellent reminder for me some nights.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emmerson
I think it is also important in education. Finish each year and be done with it. You did what you could. The first day of school is a new day, a new start. We shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with our old nonsense. That’s what I want for our students too, a new year, and I want more than anything for them to feel special.
And boy did our schools and our families get that done too.
Beadle Middle School clapped students in as they arrived for the first day. Sandoz laid out a literal red carpet. At Hitchcock the students worked together to develop the rules and expectations for the year. Disney had a community partner who provided school supplies for their students. Every single student has what they need for the year. At Central Middle School a teacher was playing piano and entertaining the students outside as they arrived. Our administrators dressed in matching school gear. There were giant yard signs where parents could snap creative first day pictures.
At the end of the day, when I logged on to social media, I was showered with post after post of those first day of pictures. Collages of the first day of kindergarten compared to the first day of senior year. Shots of moms and dads ready for their first day of teaching posing with their children ready for their first day of learning. You flooded my feeds with pictures of your own children and pictures of your school children being loved and being nurtured and being made to feel special.
And that is what the first week of school is all about!