Faculty and staff are gearing up for the opening of school. Beginning with a District Institute Day, Student Council President senior James King led the pledge of allegiance remotely from Michigan via the all staff Webex virtual meeting. He thanked all faculty and staff for their tireless efforts to bring a quality education to thousands. He said, “LT taught me to invest all of my energy and time into something I love. This year, that love will not disappear.”
All employees then heard welcome back messages from Board of Education President Tom Cushing and Superintendent Tim Kilrea, both of whom focused on the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in the coming school year. Director of Curriculum and Instruction Scott Eggerding reminded teachers that interacting and connecting with students will be critical to the success of our students. Principal Brian Waterman shared specifics on upcoming health and safety training and the importance of following those protocols and asked teachers to begin thinking about, creating and delivering messages of hope to students and families.
Throughout the next four days in an effort to cultivate a sense of belonging and wellness for students and adults as they begin school in the midst of unprecedented times, the entire LT staff (administrators, administrative assistants, counselors, librarians, teachers, social workers, paraeducators, special educators, etc.) will participate in a three hour Zoom training led by John Krownapple.
Krownapple specializes in facilitating professional learning and organizational development focused on social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. He has shared his expertise in two books: Guiding Teams to Excellence with Equity: Culturally Proficient Facilitation and Belonging through a Culture of Dignity. Additionally, he has served as an educator for over two decades in the roles of district office administrator, professional development facilitator, curriculum specialist, elementary teacher, and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University and McDaniel College. He is an expert in leading the development and implementation of one of the first and most comprehensive Cultural Proficiency programs in the nation.
During Teacher Work Days, faculty will participate in a variety of professional development opportunities. Technology workshops will focus on Canvas and include sessions on establishing a districtwide common structure, lesson strategies, calendars and modules. Teachers will also be offered training on Zoom, Flip Grid and other technology tools to implement in their classes.
Division meetings will focus on curriculum grading and mapping. Curriculum maps determine the most important things and essential outcomes for each class. Maps will be available to all students and parents. Workshops on grading will emphasize providing ample and timely feedback to students and time needed for students to internalize information.
Superintendent Kilrea noted, “Every school year brings change, and the start of this year brings a change none of us have ever experienced. At LT, we pride ourselves in doing things right and doing them well. We pride ourselves on making decisions in the best interests of our students. And we pride ourselves in working together as a team. There are many opinions on how things should be done, but once decisions are made, we must forge ahead. We have to lock arms and commit ourselves to be a united front for student success. There is no playbook on how to open school during a pandemic. Information is constantly changing and our ability to be fluid and pivot with new information is critical and will benefit our students.”