Opening day message focuses on collaboration
Working together – especially during challenging times – is essential if educators are to help every child reach their full potential.
That was the message shared by speakers during Mohonasen Central School District’s Sept. 3 Opening Day for staff and teachers.
Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Spring cited the district’s changing demographics. “There are more families living in poverty in our district than ever before,” said Spring. “Over one-third of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch … up from single digits over the past 10 years.”
Spring urged teachers and staff to look beyond the surface of a student’s circumstances and encourage each child’s potential.
“We often never know how one simple act of kindness, recognition or belief changes the life of another person,” said Spring. “You never know how you touch people when you see beyond the surface.”
Spring’s comments followed an inspiring message from Schenectady City Mission Director Mike Saccocio, who discussed his work at the Mission and the challenge of running a homeless shelter in a city focused on economic development.
It was a paradigm shift that led to an alliance between the city’s social service agencies and the business community, Saccocio said. “There was an opportunity to come together instead of trying to tear each other down.”
Saccocio urged educators to choose to unite and collaborate to improve the lives of students.
“Every encounter is an opportunity to be transformational. You can’t undo someone’s life, but you can prove they matter,” he said. “Don’t miss the opportunity for what you’re going to do in the hallways and after school. Don’t miss the opportunity to do small things in a big way.”
Board President Robert Piccirillo told staff and teachers he was a “classic underachiever” as a student growing up in Rotterdam. He cited the influence of a former teacher, who told him it was “time to grow up.”
“That was a turning point in my junior year,” he said.
Piccirillo acknowledged the challenges facing educators today. “It’s hard stuff, but hard does not mean hopeless,” he said.
This year, the district will be using the hashtag #MohonMovingForwardTogether both on Twitter and on Facebook to share out pictures and information about what Mohonasen students are doing in school. The entire Mohonasen community is invited to tune in and follow along to learn more about what is happening in district schools.