The start of a school year is filled with energy, enthusiasm, and excitement. As the principal of an elementary school, one of the most enjoyable times is welcoming our students and their families to the new school year.
This process begins following registration as families visit our building and prepare for the first day. The culmination is the first day of school as our eager students enter excited and ready to begin. Before the first week is over, our families have joined us for our Back to School Event.
The opportunity to visit the building, meet the teachers, and learn about the plans our teachers have for the coming year is always well received. This year, we had the opportunity to welcome many new families. In speaking with these families, parents indicated they relocated to Portage because of the excellent schools. As a principal, I recognize parents have a choice.
Welcoming these new students and their families, and helping each of them get off to a strong start is a top priority. Some of these children have moved to Crisman Elementary from across town, while others have moved across the country. The challenge for us is to help each new student to make a smooth transition to our building and district. I am thankful for the parents who have visited Crisman and asked questions about the education their child will receive.
In the last couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to clarify for our students and parents what is occurring at Crisman. When sharing with students the expectations, Portage has clearly defined Critical Values. We expect members of our community to have the Courage to be Compassionate, Fair, Honest, Respectful, and Responsible. These terms are universal, and our families appreciate these values.
Additionally, we focus on the 40 Developmental Assets in Portage – as the banners lining Willowcreek Road in Portage indicate, Portage Elevates Assets in Kids. This is not a new initiative, but parents new to our district need to understand the value we place on our youth. At Crisman this school year, we will focus on Igniting Sparks. The Crisman staff will be working to make connections, ‘sparks’, through both learning and co-curricular activities. By Igniting Sparks, we will be helping students to discover interests, to deepen their knowledge, and to grow a burning desire to learn and achieve even more.
For some of our parents, there are many new things to learn. Whether it is experiencing a standards-based report card for the first time, or trying to understand what an RtI is, please understand, we value your questions. If you are new to Portage, or have made the move to a new school, we welcome you.
As a parent, you are a vital partner. If you have not had the opportunity to stop in to school, to meet the principal, or to ask questions about your school, take the time. Parents, you are the most important resource when it comes to the success of your child.
Please take the time to gain an understanding of the key practices at your child’s school. Read the communications that are delivered home, check out the website, communicate with your child’s teacher, and participate in the parent involvement opportunities which occur throughout the school year. The knowledge you gain from actively participating in our schools will benefit your child and our community.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.