Getting into the classrooms and schools for all superintendents is always a goal but all too often you get caught up in the office responding to e-mails, memo’s, phone calls and discussions, before you know it is too late in the day. In reality, it is never too late to visit a school or classroom as that is so much a part of our position. I will never forget former Stoneham Superintendent Dan Hogan’s advice to me when I became a superintendent. He said, “try to visit a school as often as you can before you go to your office, as once you get there you are trapped.”
I remembered that and followed his advice on many school mornings leaving myself unscheduled for that purpose and tried to make it a point to spend time with all staff, visit the classrooms and work with the administrator(s) on issues of the school or just to share my observations on staff and students. While today we often see formalized administrative meetings, I often found that you could get a pulse of the school by just walking and talking to staff, students and often parents, who would be in the schools for appointments.
Opening day for students was very special as the elementary schools all took on a very special feeling and atmosphere as parents brought their son or daughter to school for the first time in the case of the kindergarten students, as cameras rolled to keep as family history. Yes, there were a few tears by some parents and new students but parting took place and staff moved into their traditional first day.
While I often thought there was some magic in the first day of school, I often thought of two key issues. First, I took so seriously the importance of the teachers on these days, as parents were placing their sons and daughters into our collective educator’s hands. Second, I often thought of the many youngsters in various parts of the world who had no schools to attend.
My best thoughts to you all,
JETTY defined as a pier or structure of stones, piles or the like, projecting into the sea or other body of water to protect a harbor and deflect the current