A gathering of all APS teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and staff marked the return of the school year for the Arlington Public Schools. Meeting in the new auditorium at Arlington High School for the first time, the full district was invited to hear opening remarks from School Committee Chair Liz Exton, Town Manager Sandy Pooler,Superintendent Liz Homan, and the AEA and AAA Presidents.
All speakers emphasized the importance of caring for one another and building strong relationships to start the new school year. After two years of navigating the challenges of education during the pandemic, opening remarks focused on the joy of beginning a school year focused on teaching and learning. Superintendent Homan shared the new APS Vision, which was adopted by the School Committee this summer, following an inclusive community process supported by the Arlington Education Foundation:
The vision of the Arlington Public Schools is to be an equitable educational community where all learners feel a sense of belonging, experience growth and joy, and are empowered to shape their own futures and contribute to a better world.
Dr. Homan recalled jumping into situations, one involving swimming with stingrays, that led to growth and joy. She reflected on how moments of risk and growth require a sense of belonging and strong relationships. As the audience members reflected on personal experiences, APS staff were inspired to jump into the new school year looking for opportunities to overcome fear in order to grow, build connections and belonging for themselves and students, and to experience joy in the process.
Following two days of preparing classrooms and building, curriculum, and grade level meetings, the district joyfully welcomed students on Tuesday, September 6.
With excitement, here’s to a great start to a new school year.