The arrival of this letter is an indication that the opening of school is around the corner. In preparation for that day, we will gather new staff for an all-day introduction to our district on August 26; the entire faculty will attend meetings and workshops from August 27 through August 29; and your children will join us for opening day on Tuesday, September 3.
All Principals will be available beginning the week of August 26 if you have any questions. An orientation program for ninth graders and students new to the high school (grades 10-12) will occur on Thursday, August 29. We provide a staggered start for elementary students to personalize transition, which is outlined in the document, “Important School Information 2013-2014.” Note that there is no school on Thursday, September 5, a day of low attendance (Rosh Hashanah). All of this information and other notifications are available on our school and district websites, which we urge you to visit regularly throughout the school year.
Summer provides much needed time for replenishing our minds and bodies. In July I had the good fortune of attending a lecture by Doris Kearns Goodwin on lessons of leadership from Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She noted that these presidents shared a number of attributes that made them so successful, including the ability to relax during intensely stressful times. Today this ability is linked to mindfulness, a topic I have been researching as it relates to public education.
While some stress can be motivating, too much interferes with our ability to learn or to interact in a productive manner. For that reason, universities, hospitals, educational organizations and the federal government are all pursuing ways to train students, faculty and administrators in mindfulness. One of my goals this year is to integrate such training into the Weston Public Schools and I welcome your thoughts on such an initiative.
Cheryl R. Maloney