The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Opening Day Institute

Today was the first day of school! At least, it was the first day of school for teachers. We had our Opening Day Institute today, which involved all of the faculty and staff of the district gathering for a day of professional development and information about the state of the district.

Our current superintendent is retiring and the current assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction is going to be taking on his role. The two of them spoke for the majority of the morning about the district’s strategic plan and how it has been implemented through the past year and what will be happening in the coming year. It is always a pleasure to listen to the speak about their passion for seeing our school district become even greater than it is.

The afternoon was spent in mini-workshops and meeting by both grade- and building-levels. A major focus for the grade-level meeting was to discussion the learning targets associated with the Common Core State Standards, and how the “I Can” statements have been drafted to present the CCSS in student-friendly terms. We were also given new curriculum guides, that include pacing suggestions, for English/language arts and mathematics. (The social studies, science, health and physical education, and social/emotional learning standards are still being drafted.)

Just after lunch, it started raining quite heavily for the first time all summer. We have been in somewhat severe drought conditions all summer, so the rain was much appreciated. It was not, however, appreciated as much when it caused the power to go out at one point. I also had a hard time to appreciate the rain when I got thoroughly soaked going from the car to the door of the building. I spent the rest of the afternoon contemplating how important it is for me to have a change of clothes available at school. It was pointed out by a helpful staff member that a change of clothes is also useful in case a student is sick or somehow manages to get paint or ink on me.

While the day was full of professional discussion and topics that many may not find the most interesting, I quite enjoyed the day. One of the things that I most want to take away from the day was a comment from our superintendent: As we go through this year of transition, we must push away the negativity and remember to smile and laugh each day! That will be one of my mantras for the year.

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