Convocation peps up teachers for new year
Published 8:52 pm Monday, August 31, 2015
By Alyssa Esposito
In what could essentially be considered a pep rally for teachers, Suffolk Public Schools’ convocation ceremony took place Monday at King’s Fork High School.
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“I say to those of you who are new ‘hold on, it’s going to be the ride of your life,’” Superintendent Deran Whitney said.
Along with the fairly recent allowance to wear jeans once a week, employees have another reason to be excited this school year. Whitney said every teacher will receive a $100 voucher to purchase additional school supplies, meaning teachers will have to use less of their salary to buy items they need for their classrooms.
In a surprising and exciting twist of events, an employee flash mob broke out after Whitney’s speech. Many faculty and staff members jumped up to dance to Mark Ronson’s “UpTown Funk.”
While the faculty and staff had their fun, school officials also showed their appreciation for the teachers and staff. New faculty members were welcomed and current staff got excited for the new school year to begin.
Schools and departments had their accomplishments recognized during the program. Some schools have recently become fully accredited, while others have maintained their accreditation for a number of years and some have significantly increased their SOL scores.
Some faculty and students were featured in a motivational video that was played at the event. In this video, one employee talked about a story she had heard regarding bunches of starfish that had washed up on shore.
In the story, one person went and started throwing them back into the water. A passerby then asks why, because clearly they can’t all be saved.
“It matters to this one,” the woman in the video said, likening the action to teaching.
At another point in the ceremony, the new “Wellness Initiative” was the topic of another video. Teachers will have the opportunity to participate in the program where surveys, screenings and challenges will take place in order to improve employee health.
Mayor Linda T. Johnson spoke at the event, as did Phyllis Byrum, a School Board member who spoke briefly on the increase in teachers’ salaries, as well as the two new Suffolk schools being built.