Last Days of August lead to #1st5days of school…

All the signs of a fading summer are here,  the morning dew is that much thicker, goosebumps now appear where there haven’t been any, and reoccurring thoughts of your school / classroom more frequently interrupt your days.   There is both an excitement and a sadness at this time of year.  Sunsets, campfires, summer adventures are still fresh memories so there is a grieving as this glorious season  passes.  There is also an excitement that all that you have learned and thought about teaching and learning will become a reality in your school this year.

If these are our thoughts, what are our kids feeling?  We likely have a pretty good idea!

The great thing about working for a public education system is that we are collectively focussed on ensuring that our work has a positive impact on every one of our learners.  For those in our system that spent their summer getting our schools and buildings ready for September, they too think about how their work will be received by educators, parents and kids in the first week.  We ALL share in the collective pride and joy that comes with seeing our students succeed.

Over this past

Janet Mort
Joyful Literacy participants
week I had an opportunity to sit with a large group of primary educators who had committed to spending two days with Dr. Janet Mort exploring Joyful Literacy.  These educators were clearly committed to ensuring that every one of our primary students reads at grade level…a very laudable goal.   I left this pumped up group to join our trustees for two days as they continued their work on a Strategic Plan.   These seven trustees, all non-educators, are to be admired for their commitment to governing a system in a manner that allows us to make good things happen for our kids.


Trustees Tom Bulmer & Steve Davis having fun while working on Mission, Vision, Values.
This upcoming week I will spend a few days with excited principals preparing for the upcoming year, including our newest principals.

Wednesday will be another busy day where school teams will begin their year long inquiry journey being supported by Michelle, Dave and Debbie Kohn.  Here is the original invite to this event…Aug31 Invite.

This is what the two weeks prior to the first day of school have looked like and so we can hardly wait to see what the actual first week will look like in our classrooms.  If you are a tweeter, you may know the hashtag #1st5days where educators share their thoughts about their planning for the first 5 days of school.  The magic of twitter is that teachers are SHARING and COLLABORATING with a global educational community.  These folks are developing networks of colleagues with whom they share regularly.   Inevitably this digital discourse positively impacts their own practice.    As much as I believe in the professional development potential of Twitter, I’m not asserting that you should all go out and set yourself up as a tweeter.  Rather I am arguing that we need to find our own unique way of sharing conversations about our craft with our colleagues.   We need to ensure that teaching is not an isolationist craft but one that models  the power of collective thinking.

In British Columbia we are on the eve of implementing a K-9 curriculum that focuses on core competencies and key understandings.  The invite to go deep, personalize, involve community and assess for learning has been talked about for many years and now we have a curriculum that matches that conversation.  No matter your role in School District 91, what are your hopes, thoughts for the first 5 days of school.

Here are some educators sharing their thoughts about the first 5 days.

Whether you are a new or more experienced teacher, are you willing to share your thinking with other SD 91 colleagues about your hopes for the first 5 days?  My guess is that if you start this year by sharing, follow up conversations about our work become that much easier.

Let me begin:

My hope for the first five days is that all schools / teachers focus on the following three words in their classrooms:  INCLUSION, COMMUNITY, LAUGHTER

My own plan for the first 5 days is to visit schools and listen to how we can support teachers as they roll up their sleeves and begin the messy work of playing with the new curriculum.

That’s it!

You all know what it feels like to initiate a high five without a reciprocating smack.  Don’t leave me hanging…try something new and share with your SD 91 colleagues your thoughts and wishes for the #1st5days.

In fact, let me single out some of my closest colleagues to share their thoughts about the 1st5days.  EM, MS, CD, CM, LM, RZ, LK, JB…are you all willing to post a reply to this blog telling us about your hopes for the first week of school?

Best wishes for a great final week of summer and a fabulous first week of school!









  1. An air high 5 for first 1-91 post of the year and hopefully one that inspires us all to make the first 5 days (and beyond!) in Nechako awesome for our students!
    My hope the first 5 days on the EBUS is that our students and families will feel Connected and Welcome to SD#91 and to their teachers just the same as students in our neighbourhood schools👍🏼

  2. Dido (BN) the awesome facility which is EBUS, creating opportunities for students initially ‘remote’ from their hopes and dreams, ‘team’up with EBUS to fulfill those wishes and unique schedules. It’s a pleasure being one of those who work hard to create opportunities for these students and be part of their solution. ‘Speaking’ (online) with some over the summer, one hears the heart-wrenching stories, then the joys as they’ve overcome their challenges. It’s great to be part of this dynamic.

    My wish for the first 5 days is to bring the ‘summer’s energy’ from all the stories we’ll hear from colleagues as they return, finding new ways to “create opportunities” for the students we’ll engage in this new school year.

  3. As a “sub” this fall , I will spend the first 5 days of school listening to the bells just down the street from my house, sipping my tea and enjoying an extended summer break . I’ll be back at the end of Sept.

    Best of luck to your start up and see you , when I don’t see you… as your replacement.!
    Great kids don’t just happen………. you help them in their journey!

  4. My wish for the first week of school as that each learner begin to feel a sense of being valued and that they give value to their new classroom(s). It is an exciting time to be in education and I look forward as we work together the first week and throughout the year to find multiple access points for learners to gain new information and skills.

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