Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome Back

On behalf of the faculty and staff of Woodglen School, I would like to welcome all of our students and parents back for the 2012-2013 school year. 

Our returning students and parents will notice that we continue to have great stability at Woodglen, with few changes in staff or programs.  We do welcome two teachers back from maternity leaves, Casey Bean, who is teaching eighth grade language arts, and Jen McGuigan, who will be teaching special education.  We also welcome back Estherlee Luteran who will be serving as a paraprofessional.

One of our ongoing facilities projects is our bathroom renovation.  Started in the summer, we will be upgrading our original bathrooms to make them all handicap accessible.  The three student bathrooms will be completed in three phases throughout the school year, starting with the "eighth grade" bathrooms up near the gym and PAC, followed by the "sixth grade" bathrooms near the cafeteria, and ending with the "fifth grade" bathrooms in the back wing of the building.  When completed the new bathrooms will be very nice and accessible to all current and future students regardless of any special needs.

At the beginning of each school year, goals are set for our staff and students.  This year, we have to major areas of focus.  One is communication and the other is respect.  We will be focusing on positive communication throughout the school year.  I have challenged everyone to use their words to build each other up rather than to tear each other down.  We will be paying attention to body language and tone of voice in addition to what is actually said.  In this age of technology, we also spoke in detail about electronic communication.  Whether using Facebook, text messages, GIF-Boom, YouTube, KIK or any other forms of social media or electronic communication everyone needs to remember that once something is put out there, it stays out there forever.  I urged students to think about what they say, send or post before they say, send or post it.  My challenge was to ask yourself if you would still say, send or post it if your mother were standing next to you.  If the answer is no, it is obviously not positive communication.  Respect is always an ongoing goal at Woodglen School, but the focus this year will be on "Respect for the School."  Staff and students were urged to take better care of our equipment as well as the physical building in which we spend more of our waking hours than anywhere else.  We talked about the importance of treating our technology with respect.  As we continue to update what we have, adding two new laptop computer carts to the school this year as well as the possible addition of more iPads, it is imperative that our students handle equipment with care.  I have no idea why students get joy out of disabling computers by removing keys or parts of computer mice, but it continues to be an ongoing problem, one that puts technology out of commission for everyone for at least some period of time.  I also informed students that school lockers would be required to be kept clean and neat.  When a student's locker is in disarray, he or she often cannot find things that he or she needs to be prepared for class.  In addition, when students cannot find assignments, books or other items, it also leads to increased and unnecessary stress.  Students were told that if their locker was in an unacceptable condition that they would need to come in on their time - lunch, recess, study hall, before or after school - to clean it.  Finally, I challenged everyone in the building to keep things cleaner by picking up things they see on the floor.  I myself never walk by a piece of paper on a hallway floor when I see it, and I've asked everyone else to join me in meeting the goal of keeping our school as clean as possible.  I would ask that all parents get involved in helping us to achieve our goals by talking about them and reinforcing them at home.  You may even want to join us in this quest in your own households.  I'm sure every parent would love to see their kids picking up stuff off the floor, particularly in their own rooms!

As we go through the school year, our goals will be reinforced and reviewed at school.  My big-picture goal is to make our school a nicer place to be.  By taking care of the facilities, we will all share in an improved environment.  By communicating more positively, we will all feel better about ourselves and others.  Thanks for your ongoing support of Woodglen School.  I look forward to seeing you all throughout this year.

No comments: