Starting the 2017-18 School Year ‘The New Rochelle Way’
The faculty of the City School District of New Rochelle united this morning to kick off 2017-18, preparing for another great year of instruction.
“Thank you for bringing head and heart to a new school year!” Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne welcomed them in the Whitney Young Auditorium at New Rochelle High School.
The district’s nearly 11,000 students will return to class over the rest of this week. But today was the “convocation,” when teachers, administrators and others reunite to prepare for it all. Dr. Osborne set the tone by telling them about what he called “the New Rochelle way.”
“The New Rochelle way is steeped in optimism and appreciation for the seriousness of our work and in nurturing the children in our care,” he said. “And it shows up in everything that we do.”
The teachers were glad to reunite with colleagues – or in the case of more than 50 newly hired teachers and others, to meet their new co-workers. After the pleasures of summer, they were preparing for the joys of teaching, such as that moment when a student fully understands a new concept.
“When that lightbulb goes off over a student’s head, it’s a glorious feeling,” said Albert Leonard Middle School math teacher Rob Dawson.
They were addressed by several district and union leaders. New Rochelle High School Assistant Principal Joseph Starvaggi, who is also head of the Administrators & Supervisors’ union, urged the teachers to identify with their students.
“Build relationships where they feel you know them and you care about them,” Starvaggi said. “Allow students to be themselves in a safe environment of risk-taking. Let them be curious. Curiosity leads to achievement and original ideas.”
The district’s oft-touted diversity was a key topic of the morning.
“Our concrete efforts to more fully realize our goals demonstrate our shared commitment to embracing the diversity that makes our school district an exciting and vibrant place to work,” Martin Daly, president of the New Rochelle FUSE union, told the audience.
Board of Education President Rachel Relkin also addressed the educators.
“Whether a child is a realist or a dreamer, we have high expectations for all,” Relkin said. Calling on a quote from educator Rita Pierson that “Every child deserves a champion,” Relkin told the staff; “Have a great year, and be a champion.”