525 East Genesee Street, Frankenmuth MI, 48734
I found this week’s school open houses at Rittmuller Middle School and List Elementary inspiring.
While veteran FSD parents and staff members may shrug and say “What’s the big deal? Our school open houses are always successful!” – I’ve got to tell you, as the new superintendent, I was impressed!
Of course, probably every Back-to-School kickoff event since the establishment of our school district in back in 1852 is special in its own way, but this week I saw hundreds of people genuinely excited about coming together as a school family to celebrate and launch another great year of learning.
At Rittmuller, I strategically stationed myself at the school’s front door to greet as many people as I could.
At the outdoor “drive-thru” open house at List, I used a “human toll booth” strategy to meet and greet elementary students and their families.
My get-in-their-way tactics worked well though, as I not only met many gracious and friendly folks, I also observed the sincere affection our staff members, parents, and students have for each other.
This pleased me immensely because you and I both know meaningful and positive relationships aren’t built overnight, so we’re blessed to be part of a school family that made this a priority for many, many years.
Afterall, high quality relationships are essential components in supporting our students academic, extra-curricular, and social-emotional growth.
I believe this week’s open houses for us off to a super start.
If you attended one of our open houses, I’m confident you would’ve heard questions like:
“Hi, how are you?”
“How’s it going?”
“Long time, no see. Whatcha’ been up to, anyway?”
You know what I mean.
Sometimes the best questions for an occasion are nothing more than quick introductory ice-breakers; easy to ask and easy to answer.
There’s nothing wrong with these questions at all. They serve a good purpose.
But I’m excited to tell you our school district is using a totally different, much deeper question as the theme for this school year, and it’s this –
What’s your story?
This is a simple question, but oh, is it powerful.
By asking it (and listening well) you’re telling someone you recognize them, you see who they are, and you appreciate the unique background, ideas, and abilities they bring to our school family.
And this is what we intend to do well in FSD in the weeks and months ahead.
We believe by inviting, accepting, nurturing, and striving to positively impact everyone’s unique story in FSD will elevate our excellence in education tradition to the next level.
In fact, we spent much of First Day back as a staff on Wednesday learning together with Dr. Mamie T. Thorns, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Programs at SVSU.
Thanks to Dr. Thorns, we’re more aware of the challenge before us.
By asking our students, and each other, “What’s Your Story?” we must be ready as educators to embrace, respect, and positively impact all of the unique stories in our midst.
Talk about a big responsibility!
But we’re ready.
We know this question is the foundation for a more welcoming and safe school culture.
What’s your story?
I hope you’ll give this question some thought, too.
It won’t be the last time you’ll see it.
Here are our two popular BACK-TO-SCHOOL info links.
Hopefully, these links will help you with your “questions.”