Superintendent Dr. Mark Miles had a simple, yet impactful, message to convey to about 120 teachers starting their first year in the Rockwood School District.
Every story matters.
"It is our job to help students tell their stories," Miles told an assembled crowd of educators in the Lafayette High theater Wednesday. "We have that opportunity each day, each moment and with every interaction we provide. We are crafting that story for us and for them. We intend to honor each and every one of them. As you consider this year, a story awaits."
That theme will persist throughout the three days of new teacher orientation, which runs through Friday at Lafayette. This year's event kicked off Wednesday with sessions led by Miles, Director Learning Development Dr. Renee Trotier, Coordinator Professional Learning Dawnette Wiskur and Glenn Hancock, director research, evaluation and assessment.
Teachers were grouped with fellow new educators from their schools in the Lafayette commons but encouraged to mingle with other members of their cohort through thinking exercises and activities.
"What we're learning this whole week will help us become better 21st-century teachers and help our kids become more engaged with what they're learning," said Jennifer Modica, who will be teaching fifth grade at Wild Horse Elementary
graduates Drew Litschgi and Rachael Brekrus are both entering their first year teaching at their alma mater, Litschgi in language arts and Brekrus in mathematics. They're both excited to get to work continuing to write the story of Rockwood schools.
"I already knew it was awesome, so I wanted to come back," Brekrus said.
"The reputation speaks for itself," Litschgi added.
During Miles' session with the teachers, he handed out paper and envelopes and asked them all to write letters to themselves. They won't know when but, at some point this school year, Miles plans on sending those letters back to the teachers to remind them what they were feeling on the eve of their first year in Rockwood.
"I'm excited to get my first week under my belt, to accomplish that," said Lindsey Eveland, a fifth-grade teacher at Wild Horse.