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Principal’s Corner: Welcome home to all of our students

By Nick Sofio

On Aug. 24, we opened our doors to welcome our students back to school for the 2020-21 school year. As with any first day of school, there was a lot of excitement by students and staff alike to see each other once again. This year, our first day was different from other years in that it had been such a long time since we last had the sound of student voices and laughter filling the classrooms and hallways of our school.

Nick Sofio

With COVID-19 abruptly ending our in-person learning last spring, students were away from the place where they learned, played, socialized and connected with peers from all over the Albert Lea community. Knowing this reality, it was important for us to provide plenty of opportunities for our students to engage in a variety of social emotional learning activities within their classrooms.

Through utilization of  the Second Step program and the Responsive Classroom approach, our teachers have been able to develop a classroom environment that honors students social-emotional needs. In addition to learning new classroom and school routines, students have also been revisiting basic social skills such as responsibility, friendship, sharing, respect, empathy and teamwork. Morning meetings help to establish a positive tone each day, and classroom lessons help to reinforce the variety of social skills students are working on at any given time. Our goal is to establish and maintain a learning environment where all students are successful, confident and growing both academically and socially. 

The bulletin board at the front entrance of Lakeview is beautifully decorated with the words “Welcome Home” greeting our students and staff. This school year, more than any other, those words hold a greater meaning than any other year. Welcome home Lakeview Elementary School, we have missed you and are so happy to have you all back. 

Nick Sofio is principal of Lakeview Elementary School.