My message was about first and last impressions. The last impressions were about how the 8th graders grew as learners and became better and more mature people during their time in Merton. I will remember seeing their growth and will do my best to keep those positive images close. The first impressions were about the 8th graders move to the high school, whichever one they will be attending, and how those first impressions really say a lot about someone.
If I could share my message again, I would change it to "First and Lasting Impressions." I realize now that our first impressions must be followed up by lasting impressions. Many of my new Voxer friends not only "talk the talk" but they "walk the walk". In an effort not to forget anyone or their impactful stories, I won't mention any names, but their stories will stay with me for a long time to come. These impressive educators have developed an atmosphere in their schools where everyone is respected, opinions are shared, and students are kept in the forefront of all that they do.
It is now my passion and focus to open up our school to better and deeper family engagement. I know that I will "steal" some ideas from the group and I hope that a few of my thoughts and ideas have resonated with those whom I have learned from all summer. Here are my first steps to improve the engagement of all of our families.
- Develop a family engagement committee (staff and families) that will work together to improve the culture and atmosphere of our school to make it more welcoming.
- Provide opportunities for families to share their time and talents with our students.
- Be intentional about having conversations with families when they visit school for conferences, concerts, sporting events, or dropping off or picking up their children during the school day.
So now I need to begin, before the school year even starts. I will develop a family smore for each grade level, sharing information about each grade level and the staff who will be working with their children, to be sent out next Friday. I will also be interacting with as many families as I can during our Open House and working on finding ways to support them during the school year. I will also ask them how they might be able to support our school as well. My hope is that these efforts, in concert with families and staff, will help our school become a partnership school. With the staff and families in our school, I'm sure that we will get there.