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What Do We Do on Our First Day of School?

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Today is opening day with our new teachers in Burlington Public Schools. I struggle annually to find a balance with what to share with them as we prepare for the start of school, which is just under a week away for teachers and just under two weeks away for students. How much information is too much? I do not want to overwhelm them, but I also do not want to forget something important.  I have decided to share some opening thoughts for this morning in the hopes that it will cause you and those in your school community to focus on the most important question we need to answer on during our first day (and on every other day).

The following excerpt, written by Ken Blanchard, is from the Foreword to Jon Gordon's The Energy Bus:

In many of my seminars I begin by asking people to stand up and do two things. First, I ask them to greet other people as if they are unimportant. After an initial chuckle or two, there's a dull hum as everyone walks around trying to ignore each other. Then I stop them and ask them to continue to greet people, but this time, to do it as if the people they are greeting are long-lost friends they're glad to see. The room erupts with laughter and the volume rises as people run around, smiling, hugging, and chatting with each other.

As we think about the beginning of a new school year, how does this message resonate with you? With this in mind, I wanted to share a question from Cale Birk, a colleague in British Columbia. Cale posted the following question in a blog post titled What are the EXPERIENCES you create?

How can we make the EXPERIENCE that our (students/parents) have when they walk into our building/register at our school/go to our website, etc) SO POSITIVE that they want to communicate this experience with others?

If we do not feel that answering Cale's question is critical for us as individuals and as an organization then we need to stop what we are doing and start over.

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