I Heart the First Day of School

I remember when I was younger filled with the excitement and anticipation of a new school year. I would make sure that I had all of my supplies and books in order, ready to experience the new year. Now, nearly 40 years later, I still feel the rush of enthusiasm overtake my body as we head into the first day of school.

For the 2007-2008 academic year, today was the first day. This was not the first official day when all teachers and staff are required to return for our opening meetings. Nor was it the first official day when students are required to attend classes for the first day of school. No, today was the day when the students arrive on campus for their athletic pre-season, when the administrators return to switch from the more relaxed summer flow to a more hurried pace in anticipation for the return of teachers and students. The summer renovation and maintaince projects take on a greater flurry and frenzy of activity in order for them to be completed by the start of school. More teachers are popping in more frequently, transitioning from summer mode to the pace of school. Yes, it is fun watching the school wake up from a slumber in anticipation of all that is good to occur within the walls once again.

Personally, it is at time to wrap up summer development projects and pay more attention to making sure that everything is ready for the start of the year; that computers are updated, clean, and ready for work, that new accounts have been added and and others pared away, that software has been updated and changes have been documented. While frenetic, I enjoy the adrenaline that is generated by all of the work that needs to be completed. I do have to sometimes slow down, breath deeply, count to ten so that I am not overwhelmed.

I am really excited about the start of this school year in particular. For me, last year was a transformative year, from immersing myself in the new technologies, to developing a personal learning network full of great people and deep thinkers who challenge me daily. I have had the privilege of working with our First Grade team, a Fourth and Fifth Grade lead teacher, our LS and MS Spanish teachers, our Seventh Grade team, our US French teacher, our Eighth Grade humanities teacher, a history teacher and a science teacher on new curriculum units which have and will utilize components and new tools for collaboration and communication. This week, I am meeting with our new Chemistry teacher who wants to create Flash screen captures to make available to students and our Sixth Grade humanities teacher who wants to make some changes. We are rolling out 24 tablet PCs to teachers, and are creating nine more spaces on campus with permanent projection available.

Another indicator that this is going to be a great year is the fact that I am spending five hours with the principals of our three divisions, elementary, middle school, and high school to teach them about the new technologies. We had our first meeting today where we discussed the big picture and wikis. This led to several great conversations about how we were going to share and implement these ideas to the faculty this year. I know that this is a very important time of the year and I am thankful that they are choosing to spend some of their precious time learning and discussing these important topics. The impact on the students should be very profound this year.  And I am ecstatic that I am able to take part in all of the excitement.

One thought on “I Heart the First Day of School

  1. I have to say I miss it. Having once had a job similar to yours (also at a private school) I remember the school waking up to start a new year very well. School during the summer is, well, it just doesn’t feel right empty of students and so light on staff and faculty. It’s almost as if it falls into a fitful sleep. This time of year is so ripe with promise and excitment it just makes one feel good to be alive.

    Have a great year Vinnie!

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