Royal Treatment

Day one of training - and I'm left speechless.  I had no idea my district was this amazing. The staff is incredibly warm, intelligent, and dedicated and the district-wide amenities are remarkable. (More about the AMAZING staff & workshops tomorrow....)   Don't get me wrong - I knew through personal experience, and growing up a few towns away that this particular area was swanky - but it's even more impressive than I had previously anticipated.  For one of the first times in this uncertain public education climate, I feel like there does exist a town that overwhelmingly values their public schools and their public school teachers. The support from the committed community is staggering - and I'm NOT just talking about financial support. It's clear that these residents hold their schools and teachers on a lofty, and well guarded pedestal.  It's both wonderfully gratifying and mightily intimidating at the same time. 

That being said, I know I shouldn't obsess about the financial supports in place district-wide, but it's honestly hard NOT to react to after you've student taught in an urban district and an international school, both of which had limited resources for different reasons.  Here, there's not only an additional town educator's union in place that functions separately from our state educator's association, but property taxes a la 90210, and slew of local benefactors - which means that the money that flows into our schools and into grants for teachers and students is mind-boggling...and it honestly fills my heart with educational promise. I guess the funding shouldn't be too surprising when the average home runs about $1 million and the average household income is about $125k.  Intimidating much?   (See: actual homes from the district above & on left....yes, we can gawk together.)

For starters, we met at the high school today (which is where we'll be until Wednesday) - and it was STUNNING.  Not yet an adolescent, the school was built several years ago and let's just put it this way....all I could think of was Richard Attenborough as John Hammond in Jurassic Park saying "We spared no expense!".  Don't get me wrong - it's not the least bit showy or opulent... but you can just tell it's a beautiful new building that is extremely well equipped to handle an engaged student body.  There is a half million dollar multi-media room made possible exclusively by private donations from town citizens, new fiber-optic wiring connecting all of the schools in the district together for a lightning-fast network no longer beholden to pricey telecommunications companies, and a library that looks like the offspring of two previously smitten college campus libraries.  Not to mention, there is district-wide funding provided for EVERYTHING;  From zealous students pursuing their science fair dreams to a teacher wanting to begin an elementary school chess club.

Ok, I know it's early, but I kinda feel like I've died and gone to public teacher heaven.

I felt like we worked for one of those corporations that takes really good care of their new hires. And apparently, the royal treatment for all new hires will continue for the rest of the week!  In store are more delicious catered breakfasts and lunches, more educational workshops all day long with some of the most accomplished administrators in the district, a meet-and-greet with the entire city council and mayor tomorrow, and a final Thursday lunch at a prestigious local historic hotel (above). 

Whoa....  I feel so honored...so excited....and all too aware of the enormous expectations that lay before me.  

More from training day two tomorrow!

* See: note about photos of beautiful homes in above blogpost entitled "Go Big or Go Home". 

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