Principal’s Corner: To new year beginnings

Published 12:43 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

Principal’s Corner by Judi Vitito

In education, August is the hallmark of new beginnings. New students. New teachers. New families. New school year. The positive energy is contagious and fills the hallways with optimism for the year ahead. 

Judi Vitito

New students. Greeting students and their families during before-school conferences is one of my favorite traditions of welcoming a new year. Big smiles, fresh haircuts and often the brand-new pair of tennis shoes adorn the students as they bound up the stairs, enter the school and go with confidence in the direction of their new classroom — eagerly anticipating a new teacher, new classmates and the challenge of learning new skills and concepts.

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New teachers. Experiences as a new teacher and veteran teacher in other districts, I can say with confidence that Albert Lea’s mentor program for new teachers is second to none. Instructional coaches and veteran teachers dedicate time beyond the classroom to ensure that this program supports new staff members throughout their first year in our schools. Mentors and instructional coaches team up to support new teachers with curriculum, instruction and developing classroom environments. During interviews, one of the most frequently asked questions is “Do you have a mentor program?” Albert Lea’s commitment to excellence is apparent as principals and teachers respond to this question.

New families: success coaches, guidance counselors, school social workers are here to support new families as they transition to a new school system or to a school across town. Translating, interpreting, transportation and supporting students through change are just a few of the services they provide. Again, our district’s commitment to the community we serve shines through in the support we offer our families.

New school year. Welcome, 2017-18! This kindergarten class will graduate in 2030. These are the kids of our future. With their smiles and enthusiasm they carry the spirit of hope and optimism as Albert Lea Area Schools partners with the community to continue our work of meeting the needs of our students and families.

Judi Vitito is the principal of Hawthorne Elementary School.