August 29, 2017
Dear Weston Public School Families,
In fewer than 48 hours, we will be welcoming students to the first day of the 2017-18 School Year. For much of the summer, staff, teachers and administrators have been busy preparing for opening day. We are ready to greet students with professionalism and high spirits.
This morning we held our annual Convocation—a gathering for staff to celebrate the start of the new year, hear plans for the year, and consider advice and reflections from colleagues. This year, I included musical performances by our students—a string quartet, a vocal soloist, a jazz ensemble, and an acapella group. The performances immediately reminded us that our shared purpose is to educate and support all our students—who bring with them a wonderful array of talents and gifts.
As part of the Convocation, we heard from the 2018 Weston Teacher of the Year, Stacey Greenberg, who is a science teacher at Weston High School. Ms. Greenberg’s remarks are a perfect statement on the hopes and challenges of a new school year (see link below). Ms. Greenberg rightly features Weston’s shared purpose of developing connections among and between students and staff, noting that the key to effective learning is a partnership, student to student, student to teacher, family to professional. Her advice, “to focus on what went right first…more than on the negative,” resonated in the Convocation hall. After you have read Ms. Greenberg’s essay, please take on this special task: speak with your student(s) about what Ms. Greenberg means by, “Don’t drop the dog.” It is a discussion that should work for any age and will have all of us thinking about Ms. Greenberg’s wise advice.
Stacey Greenberg's Speech-Convocation, August 29, 2017
Later this month, I will write to Weston families with a refresher on the Priority Outcome and Major Goals for the Weston Public Schools. The Board of Education and Leadership Team worked this summer to review these guideposts and have redoubled our commitment to them. Simply put, we aim to produce Global Citizens through the provision of Academic Excellence, Healthy Learning Environments and Digital Learning &Technology. We value Gauging Progress as the framework for understanding student learning and growth, and we strive to have the necessary Resources for Learning. We have action steps and measures for each of these areas, which I will share with you later this month.
Lastly, I want to underscore that a signature for Weston this year will be insisting on civil discourse and behavior. Our students and staff must treat each other with dignity and respect, and embrace all aspects of what makes us a diverse educational community. In my Convocation remarks this morning, I called out the need for us to “be civil and act civil” and guide our students to be leaders of a civil, just and caring society. As I said to Weston staff, there are many reasons for my stance, not the least of which is the final phrase of the Pledge of Allegiance, “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Weston is uniquely positioned to produce leaders who can help our Nation and World as critical thinkers and problem solvers, with a passion for the common good.
I look forward to seeing you around the Weston Campus this year.
William S. McKersie, Ph.D.