(Updated) Unity, Hard Work a Priorty as Berlin Welcomes Back School Staff

With the implementation of all-day kindergarten, a new look at local schools and the first year of the state's Common Core Standards, there was a lot of excitement in the air at the 2013 Convocation.

There are many challenges ahead as Berlin teachers prepare to implement new state required Common Core Standards and integrate new initiatives including all-day kindergarten.

The work will be hard, it will be time consuming – but it will also be worth the challenges, School Superintendent David Erwin said Monday morning.

“The one message I hope our educators will take away is there is a lot of work to be done and many changes throughout the state, but we have a talented and dedicated team in front of us,” Erwin said. “We will come together. With trust, we can make the best of this for our students.”

Students will always come first, Board of Education Chairman Gary Brochu said in a speech to the teachers, paraprofessionals and other school staff during the 2013 Convocation at McGee Middle School Monday morning.

Over 500 school employees packed the auditorium to celebrate the start of the school year and Brochu challenged them to think outside the box, meet the needs of the students first and put aside the pressures of the state and keep the needs of children first.

With the team in place, the town will continue to move forward, he said.

“We are here because we believe in the children,” Brochu said. “These precious individuals need our help and they deserve our best efforts.”

The district serves over 3,000 students, Brochu said, and each has their own individual needs. With a staff of 550 teachers and growth and expansion including the implementation of all-day kindergarten and infrastructure repairs at several schools, he said Berlin is in a strong position to provide for local students moving forward.

And the local students, including Mayor Adam Salina’s three daughters, are excited about the possibilities as classes resume for the 2013-14 school year.

Salina said his daughters have already gotten their hair done, picked out their outfits and have been talking about the first day of school for the past week. He said this excitement for the new school year, rather than a typical end of summer sadness, is a testament to work that teachers have done.

“For them, the new year means new opportunities. This is a new opportunity for you as well,” Salina said. “Each one of you has the ability to make an impact in a child’s life. You are the ones there to see the grow, to help them and to shape our students.”

Erwin said through teamwork, the school district’s staff has helped create a future filled with promise for the students. He said continuing this hard work that so many teacher’s have been a part of will only serve to help the district meet the state’s Common Core Standards.

“I fully expect this will be a great school year,” he said.

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