Students arrive, schools are open
The start of a new school year is always an exciting time. It’s especially fun to see the young kindergarten students arrive wide-eyed for their first day of school, often wearing their new school clothes and accompanied by proud parents taking pictures of that momentous day in their child’s life.
Teachers and other staff members also are anxious on the first day of school. Even though I haven’t had my own class of students for many years, I still have dreams the night before school starts of showing up for work at the wrong school or of arriving to find that I have been reassigned somewhere else. I guess once you’re a teacher, you’re always a teacher.
In addition to seeing the kindergarteners and all the other students arrive for their first day of school, one of my favorite activities at this time of year is the opportunity to meet the new teachers that we have hired to join our team.
There were almost 50 people in last week’s orientation class, most of them teachers but also a couple of counselors and a school nurse. The group represented a nice mix of brand new teachers right out of school and teachers who have come to Mukilteo with many years of experience. Included were several who grew up here and attended school in Mukilteo and others who had taught here before and have now returned.
I am particularly impressed by the quality of the teachers that we hired. The Mukilteo School District enjoys an excellent reputation and, as a result, always attracts a large number of high-quality applicants. For example, this year we hired 26 elementary teachers from an applicant pool of about 300 people. We are fortunate to be in a position where we can be selective in hiring just the cream of the crop.
While the first day of school represents the beginning for most of our staff members, it also is seen as a deadline for many others. Maintenance crews have been in the buildings all through the summer painting walls, cleaning floors, making repairs, and getting the schools ready for students. A crew has also been busy the last month preparing the landscape at each school, spreading beauty bark and pulling weeds.
Among the most engaged this summer were the employees in our technology department. We changed our student information system, which maintains all of the student records, tracks attendance and grades, and performs many other functions that are critical to the day-to-day operation of the school district. Our technology staff has worked many long hours this summer to complete the configuration of the new system, move all of the records from the old system to the new system, make sure all the features work properly, and train staff members how to use the new system before the first day of school.
It’s been an active summer and, now with students back in the classroom and all the staff members returned to their jobs, we are excited and looking forward to the promise of an equally active year ahead.