Over the past week, we have had the pleasure to host New Staff Orientation, our first Administrative Council Meeting, our Annual Opening Day Celebration, and welcome our students back for their first day of school. I have included photos from these events to help celebrate the start of the 2023 – 2024 school year.
New Staff Orientation, which took place from August 22 – August 24, is always designed to help our incoming staff feel comfortable as they transition to their new role in our school community. Starting a new position in another district or entering education for the first time can be overwhelming. Our goal is to make onboarding as seamless and easy as possible. Every new member of our team is given the tools and resources they need to be successful. Given the volume of information that needs to be shared, the orientation takes place over three days and is structured to have both educational workshops and relationship building activities. Some of the courses offered this year included Co-Teaching that Works, Planning for Effective Instruction, Reflecting on Instructional Practices, Student-Centered Instructional Coaching, and Tech Integration. To start forming relationships, each building hosted their own individual activities and collectively all new hires participated in a pizza making contest in partnership with Maschio’s Food Service. This contest was a fun way for our staff to begin working collaboratively. New and current staff also wore a t-shirt that best symbolized a personality trait or something that was important to them as a way for individuals to get to know one another personally. From these sessions, we facilitated an amazing experience and I am honored that so many incredible individuals have chosen our school district as their next chapter. While each new member of our team had many options they could have chosen, their decision to join Randolph is humbling. The exemplary skills, abilities, and leadership I know each of them will bring to our schools is already valued and appreciated.
The next day on August 25, we held our first full in-person Administrative Council meeting of the year in our beautiful Athletic and Wellness Center. In this meeting, we were able to discuss upcoming goals for the school year and participated in team-building activities with a purpose. We partnered with Firefly Events to facilitate several interactive challenges, which concluded with a stuffed animal building activity to support the Center for Family Services. Each stuffed animal will be given to children in crisis who need help, comfort, and support. Every administrator designed their stuffed animal’s clothing, gave each stuffed animal a name and birth certificate, and wrote an encouraging message for every child. It was a fantastic way to bring our team together to support a special cause, and every child who receives their stuffed animal will hopefully know that there are always people in the world who will love, care, and support them.
Yesterday, August 29, we held our Opening Day Ceremony. Before our welcome back of new staff began, our talented student musicians from the Marching Band performed for us. Randolph High School Senior Amaia Biggan also gave a sensational, powerful performance of the Star Spangled Banner. We truly have so many amazing programs in all six of our schools, and our music program at the high school is an incredible example of these opportunities. I am so thankful that our very own Randolph High School students were able to help us kick off what will surely be another amazing school year. Additionally, I had the pleasure to recognize this year’s tenure recipients with REA President Sandy Kessell. The individuals given tenure have provided invaluable leadership to our entire district, and we are honored that they will continue to serve our school community.
I introduced that over the course of the year, we will continue our work to improve academic growth by cultivating positive staff and student relationships. As a new initiative this year, our district, building, and department leadership teams connected over the summer with the idea to have a unifying vision which brings all six of our schools together. We felt that the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Paris teaches values that we reinforce in our classrooms K-12 every day. Some of these competencies include leadership, teamwork, mental health awareness, self-awareness, goal setting, empathy, decision making, good sportsmanship, the importance of diversity and many other skills that are essential for the development of children. When we were thinking about possible ways to best articulate the unifying characteristics of the Olympic and Paralympic games, a phrase that was used at Fernbrook in the past stood out as a great way to encapsulate what we fundamentally believe and what all six of our buildings are hoping to accomplish in 2023 – 2024. To celebrate the upcoming games in Paris and the goals we have for our school community, this year’s districtwide theme is “Individually Unique, Together Complete.” Although Team USA and other world athletes compete individually or on smaller teams, collectively these individuals’ accomplishments culminate into the overall success of their country. Each person, while being individually unique, completes the big picture of being a part of the same team. We are very excited to use this theme as an opportunity for our staff to think creatively about ways to infuse the lessons of the Olympics into their classrooms. Additionally, it’s a fun and interactive way for students to learn SEL competencies while celebrating our nation’s very best athletes. One of our very own Randolph alumni, Amanda Magadan, is a member of Team USA’s Women’s Field Hockey program. We hope that her team will have the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games on the world’s biggest stage as they participate in qualifying tournaments in the coming months.
Finally, today, August 30, was one of my favorite days of the year. Our first day back for students! As I visited our schools today, it never gets old seeing the smiling faces of our students and staff who are so grateful to come to school. We truly are a family in Randolph, and I am so proud of our staff who go above and beyond for our children every single day. I am so grateful for the continued support of our staff and families as we partner to continue to make our schools and township the very best place to both live and learn. We are going to have a fantastic school year, and that’s thanks to so many exceptional individuals who are working hard every day. We should all be very proud of what we have already achieved together, and our outstanding success is reassuring for what we will undoubtedly continue to achieve in the future.
Have a wonderful week and a great start to the school year. I hope that everyone will find ways to support one another as we complete this year together.