It is amazing and wonderful to have children fill our hallways again for a new school year. Truly an elementary school feels so empty without the sounds of teachers teaching and children actively engaged in learning during the summer.

In the first week, I visit each of our classrooms. In that time, I share our expectations for all shared spaces on campus. These are moments where we talk about how we keep our whole school family safe and share respect and show care. The first thing I enjoy doing is seeing these classrooms with children. I love seeing the faces that I have been imaging all summer as we build class lists.

I begin talking about those promises our classroom students make to their classroom family. These promises are commitments that the classmates make to create a safe learning environment. I enjoy hearing about the process each teacher takes in building these expectations. The students are able to share their ideas of what is important to them in feeling safe and being able to learn.

I then begin to talk about the different areas in the building that we share with our whole school family. We discuss our voices and movement in hallways. It is rare to have empty hallways in Joyner. So often that space becomes a place to also learn and create. But we talk about the volume of our voices and how our actions impact others.

We also talk about bathroom expectations, cafeteria and the playground. I believe at the end our students are clear that I begin always in decision-making with safety. I want to keep your children safe. We recognize and honor that trust that parents give us as we care and teach their…your children every day.

Our last expectation that exhibits how we respect our school family is about respect. During these moments, I ask students to think about the adults they know in the building. Even students who only have joined us this year are able to begin to express what they notice about the adults. They agree that they notice that the adults care for them. We then discuss that we want to express our respect to these adults as they respect each of us so much.

It is always an amazing moment to see our whole school family together at the beginning of the year. I enjoy connecting and reconnecting. But I also enjoy seeing how our families connect with each other. Parents reach out and talk with other students. They ask about summer, they are curious about what teacher they have, they truly show their care.

Our building is filled with the gift of relationships. I look forward to continuing to build that respect and care and support this coming year. We are off to a great first week! Thank you to everyone who has helped us get there!

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