Take Aways From A Great Opening Day

The first day back at work with staff is always proves to be exciting, but even more so when it’s at a new school with so many new faces.  The day started like any other… ya right, if you normally start a day on the yellow school bus riding to Memorial Composite High School with 50 other excited teachers and support staff from Woodhaven Middle School!

As has been the tradition in Parkland School Division over the past several years, every member of the PSD team assembles at MCHS on the morning of the first day that we return to work for a day of re-connecting with friends and colleagues, learning, laughing and inspiration.  Every year I hear colleagues saying “That was the best one yet!” and this year was certainly no different.

After having the opportunity to have a light breakfast with many colleagues and to hear of the various summer trips, activities and vacations of so many friends, we assembled to hear Dr. Martin Brokenleg share with us his wisdom.  What resonated for me in our work at Woodhaven Middle School is kids need for belonging. Dr. Brokenleg shared a few stories that articulated this point so eloquently and as he was speaking I couldn’t help but see the fit with middle school pedagogy. As I reflected on this further, I soon realized that not only do students need to feel a sense of belonging, but so do our staff and our parents!

While we know it is critical that every student in our school have a connection with at least one adult in our learning community, I think we often overlook the need for staff to have that very same connection! So many of us spend as much time with our co-workers as our family (that’s a topic for another time!). We need to have connections with others in our building. Gone are the days where we come to work, close our doors, interact with children all day and rush to and from the staff bathroom (okay we still rush to and from the bathroom).

I had the great fortune of witnessing first hand this week, the warm and welcoming staff at Woodhaven. With over 10 new staff members joining our team (myself included) I observed veteran teachers giving tours to new staff, helping them sort through the inevitable technology challenges, and just checking in to see that the new members are settling in.  Watching these adults support each other only makes me that much more excited to see them in action with our students! I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Shaye Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

Parkland School Division No. 70


About Shaye Patras

I am a husband and father of two fantastic girls. I currently work as the Principal of Ecole Meridian Heights School in Parkland School Division in Alberta, Canada. I am excited to be continuing my administrative career in this learning community!
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