Here We Are: The Very Best Time of the Year
John Youngquist Aug. 20, 2023
I was a principal for eighteen years and eighteen times I prepared hard for teachers to return to our school and for students to step into their classrooms. Getting ready for that most special day in August was always an incredible joy and this, right now, is the very best time of the year!
From Florida Pitt Waller K-8 to Kennedy High School, from Joe Shoemaker Elementary to Centennial K-8, this week, our DPS teachers and students are coming together to meet on the playground and at the classroom door with curiosity and optimism. That first day of school- it is a day of new opportunity.
As a community in the Denver Public Schools, we know that last year, and even this summer, has held many challenges. We see confusion and a lack of direction from our school board and messaging from our school district that does not represent the kind of change, especially regarding safety, that really begins to ease our minds. Our district leadership seems to be hoping that things will just be better.
Well, hope is not a strategy. Principals and teachers get that. What gives me confidence right now is knowing how hard our teachers and our principals have worked to prepare for this school year. I have been that principal that is devoted to the safety of my students. I know what it means to plan with safety partners, to prepare with my staff, and to create a community that keeps us safe and focused on learning.
As we lean into the first days of school, I have complete confidence that our teachers and principals are ready to welcome their students back with a smile. I am grateful to them for this because I know that behind that smile is such hard work: the planning, the connecting, and the readiness to teach and learn that makes a school safe, a classroom work, and a student learn well.
Thank you, principals and teachers, and let’s enjoy and celebrate the very best time of the year!