At 7:30 this morning, the RSU 18 Lifestyles Team was already at the high school, setting up for their best opening event yet. By 8:00 AM, world flag banners adorned the school rotunda, the photo booth was set up, and the smell of muffins and scones wafted through the halls. The theme for this year’s opening event was based around the 2020 Olympics with the message of igniting the fire within.
Staff members’ faces certainly lit up as they came in from to see the Aroma Joe Coffee bar sitting across from a very tasty and healthy assortment of breakfast treats set out by the nutrition department. Everyone chatted and caught up in the coffee line, snapped photos of each other with Olympic themed props, and enjoyed the delicious snacks. The energy was palpable and positive as the staff headed into the PAC.
After the district administrators introduced their new staff members (while passing around an Olympic torch), Superintendent Carl Gartley welcomed everyone back and shared his pride at overhearing a parent praising the district to a visitor from California. “That praise is earned by all of our staff who are so engaged in the work they do and strive to connect with our students,” he said.
The Maine Commissioner of Education, Pender Makin, then took the stage. She echoed the theme of lighting the fire within in a genuine way as she encouraged staff to reconnect with their passion for their craft by formulating two sentences: one about why they do the work they do, and a second sentence situating that work in a much larger context.
“You are impacting, in a very real and direct way, a better future,” the commissioner reminded staff.
She went on to share her vision for Maine education. “We’re going to take our cues from you and let teachers be the professionals that they are,” she said. She also stated that the DOE plans to take the focus off of test scores and celebrate successes of all sorts.
We are all looking forward to celebrating a successful new school year with all of you. See you soon!