Friday, September 9, 2016

First Week in Review


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The first week of school is always a daunting prospect when looking a month out, or even a week out. The idea that students will be filing in the hallways, struggling with their lockers, and losing their way to class is something that the staff stacks on top of all of their worries.

The amount of preparation that goes into leading one, two, and sometimes three classes is a mountain of work on its own, and teachers spend a lot of their Summertime navigating new curricula, data management systems, behavioral studies, and lesson planning. The first days of school, in a lot of ways, is the zenith of tension in a school year. Once that first bell rings, and the students enter the building, all of that planning and preparation pay off. It's smooth sailing from there, for the most part.

Here at Beach, seeing those bright, smiling faces is the best part of our job. We work so hard year round to cultivate, engage, and grow lifelong learners. While we understand that the beginning of the school year can be stressful for our families out there, and believe me, we feel it too, we couldn't be more excited about the start of the 2016-2017 year!

Check out some photos from the first week of school!

Friday, September 2, 2016

First Days, Professional Development, and Relationships

Teachers and administrators started yesterday, August 30th, for the 2016-2017 school year. It's amazing to be at this date already! It seems like last week when we were wrapping up the 15-16 year, and now we're back to it!

The started off with an incredible breakfast provided by CSD Food Services.

Believe it or not, it actually tastes better than it looks, which is quite an accomplishment!


Julie Helber introduced herself to everyone, and began the year off talking about grit, the confluence of passion and perseverance, and how this skill is one of the strongest indicators of future success. This segued into the Chelsea Graduate Learner Profile (more on this later). New staff were introduced, years of service were recognized, and wellness plans were rolled out to staff.



 

When we returned to Beach, there were new faces to learn, people to greet, and games to play. The Beach Scavenger hunt yielded some of the highlights of the day, as the staff here truly thought outside of the box to come up with creative, funny, and outrageous pictures!

 
 




After playtime, teachers got to work talking about the building themes, data from parent surveys, new opportunities inside and outside the building, and myriad other bullet points that accompany days such as this. While the work can be tedious, Beach teachers remained undaunted.

Teachers also spent time with a marshmallow challenge - an exercise in planning, goal orientation, prototyping, and execution. There are some incredibly creative and thoughtful teachers here at Beach. Take a look for yourself!



On day #2 of professional development, the staff picture was the priority for the day. We have some interesting ideas for apparel next year, but for this year we went with simplicity:


 Afterwards, teachers started by spending a little time understanding each other's leadership style and how we may interact, learn, and collaborate with one another. For the record, I'm a "South" and I struggle with the "West"!



The Chelsea Graduate Learner Profile was next on the agenda. The district has taken it upon itself to outline the traits we deem necessary to all graduates of the Chelsea School District. The list is extensive, and has been reviewed over and over again. Each building was then asked to interpret, synthesize, and create a visual representation of all of the qualities we desire in our graduates. The Beach Middle School Staff was hard at work to come up with that representation. While the groups are still in the developmental stage of those visuals, the early signs are very positive!





Finally, Beach Middle School hosted their Open House event for the school year. Students, parents, and friends of the community poured into the hallways to meet their new teachers, visit with former teachers, and reconnect with the building and the people. It's atypical, in my opinion, to see so many people enthusiastic and excited about coming back to school. There's always an eye-roll, or a parent who is not happy about their child's placement, but from what I could gather, there were none. It's a testament to the nature of the community and its relationship with Chelsea Schools.

The first two days of school were a whirlwind, but not the type that carries you away, or makes you feel overwhelmed. Instead, the beginning of the school felt familiar and comfortable, like all of the people in the building had been acquainted for years, and that this was closer to a holiday party or family reunion. There was little anxiety  or angst. There were hugs and "how have you been".

I can't wait for Tuesday to begin so I can experience that whirlwind again!