There was a definite celebratory vibe to the full district workshop at MHS today. Staff members stood out in the sunshine, swapping summer stories over muffins, fruit parfaits, and Aroma Joe’s coffee provided by the nutrition program and the Lifestyles Team. Everywhere you looked people were smiling and the enthusiasm was palatable.
Superintendent Carl Gartley was no exception. “I’ve been going to school since I was 4 years old and I still get excited for the first day, every year.”
He welcomed the staff back, emphasizing the role they play in the lives of students. “The biggest key to a student’s success is putting him or her in a room with a teacher or staff member who takes the time to build relationships with every student, every day,” he said. “You have the ability to make a difference in students lives.” Superintendent Gartley went on to say that these connections are key to everything from school safety to solving the issue of chronic absenteeism.
The sentiment was echoed by guest speaker Michael Kuczala. “A safe home for the mind is at the forefront of student achievement,” he said. “How I feel during content acquisition matters.”
Kuczala is from a long line of teachers. He is also a gifted public speaker and best selling author who promotes learning through movement and physical activity. He shared an abundance of research and resources centered on the many ways teachers can incorporate movement into their daily classroom practices in order to prime their students brains for learning.
“Learning doesn’t happen from the neck up,” said Kuczala, “it happens from the feet up.”
He got staff up and moving, doing simple activities that can prepare the brain to learn, provide content breaks, create class cohesion, and support exercise and fitness. He also demonstrated ways to teach and review content using movement.
In addition to the coffee bar, healthy breakfast, book suggestion display, and the fantastic speaker, staff were given the opportunity to donate to the Nutrition Program’s Angel Fund through a payroll deduction. All who participated were entered into a drawing for an overnight stay at the Samoset.
The Lifestyle Team had been planning this kick off since the end of last school year as part of their “On track for Success; Living Better in ’18” initiative. Based on all the positive feedback from staff, the event was a huge success.
Here’s to a great school year!