How did that first week go?

To say I am impressed would be an understatement!  The week began with meeting of the entire HW district staff and faculty.  Dr. Harvey presented a recap of all that was completed last year and quickly moved on the the new district blueprint for the future.  The high school staff , met for about an hour to review some of the items required by the State and I closed out with some comments on the future of HWHS.  We will begin with the development of a 5-year plan so that we can dynamically map our forward progress towards excellence. 

On Tuesday the freshman arrived for an orientation day.  They we in great hands as the FROSH Mentors jumped into action to guide them through a well planned itinerary. After some opening remarks in the auditorium, the freshman were off to follow their schedules and learn about the building.  After a great BBQ hosted by the senior class, everyone broke out into their predetermined groups to attend workshops specific to the HS experience.  The workshops were in the areas of curriculum, technology, and wellness.  The last stop was the cafe where all of our clubs were setup at individual tables so that the freshman could check them out, ask questions and sign up if they were interested.  That evening over 100 parents of freshman showed up for their orientation.  The highlight of the evening was the members of the student panel who gave some great insight and candidly answered questions about freshman year and HWRHS.

I have to admit, the arrival of the rest of the student body on Wednesday was a bit nerve wracking for me. Although I had a basic idea of what to expect based on my interactions with individual students.  My fears immediately subsided as I said good morning to the students coming in the front door.  Everyone responded to my “good morning” and many came right up and introduced themselves to me.  Impressive.

I suppose the most awkward moment was for the seniors when I met with the entire class.  Another change for a group who has experienced more than their share throughout their four years. I pondered what I would say during this meeting for much of the summer. With no reasons to trust me, they patiently listened to my speil.  They were attentive and respectful as I tried to get them excited about the next 168 days and reminded them how quickly they will pass.  I hope that they can trust me and we can work together to make it a great year so that our short journey together will be one they will remember.  As they begin school and the ever stressful college process, I look forward to all they will accomplish!

It was exciting to get into the classroom to see everyone in action. I was able to get into over 30 classrooms on Wednesday and Thursday and there wasn’t a minute wasted by teachers or students.  The English department meeting that I attended was upbeat and productive as teachers in the 6-12th grades talked about curriculum organization and a number of other important topics related to the start of the school year. 

The opening of school was, in my humble opinion, smooth.  In fact, several teachers commented that it was the smoothest opening that they have had in many years. I am looking foward to all of the work and more importantly, the fun we will have as we begin our journey to create a model school for  others to envy!