Today marked the official start of the 2013-2014 school year for teachers. As has been the tradition for a number of years, LASD staff gathered at Egan Jr. High to kick off another incredible year of learning together. It is always fun to hear tales of summer, swap titles of great books and talk about our plans for the year. This year we honored outstanding years of service, celebrated the tenure of twenty-four teachers across the district, and introduced forty-four newly hired credentialed employees (a much higher number than typical, partially due to the addition of a STEM program at every site and increased school psychologist support.)
LASD staff was welcomed by Doug Smith, Board of Trustees President and Jeffrey Baier, Superintendent. While distinctly different, both messages reinforced the importance of being a learner and embracing change. Mr. Smith encouraged staff to identify an area of desired change, commit to it by writing it down as a first step and then sharing it with colleagues. Think of the collective possible achievements if we are all successful in making our one change. Superintendent Baier gave a nod to our past successes, but expressed excitement as we look to the future and challenged us to embrace what lies ahead. He encouraged us to learn more, feed our passion and most importantly dared us to be extraordinary.
It is incredible to hear our district leaders talk about the importance of being a learner. Embracing the stance of a learner requires vulnerability. It requires us to ask questions and acknowledge that we don’t have all of the answers. It creates an environment where risk taking becomes the norm and failure is viewed as a part of the learning process. Learners thrive in this type of environment. I am excited to work in a district focused on learning, not just the learning for students but the learning for teachers and administrators as well. Fueled by a growth mindset, LASD supports teachers on their journey as a learner by providing support, professional growth opportunities and individualized coaching. Perhaps over simplified, but it seems an increased focus on learning has the power to make us extraordinary.
Picture: learn by Mark Brennan. Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons cc-by-nc-sa2 licence. http://www.flickr.com/photos/heycoach/1197947341.
Contributed by Alyssa Gallagher, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Community Partnerships