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Superintendent Welcomes Staff to a New Year and a New Normal

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After six-months, the hallways in the Locust Valley Central School District buildings were finally buzzing with excitement as staff returned for the first of three Superintendent Conference Days. The first day of school was moved to Sept. 9 in order to provide additional days of training for teachers as they enter a school year filled with new and challenging tasks. 

Superintendent of Schools Kenneth E. Graham, Ed.D. visited each school building to welcome the staff to the 2020-21 school year and to introduce himself since he joined the district on July 1 and had not met many of them yet. His words were encouraging and hopeful, reminding faculty and staff that they are part of a team and have support whenever they need it. Dr. Graham emphasized that everyone returning to school had a different experience during the pandemic and we all need to remain open minded towards each other’s needs, especially those of students.

“Build connections,” Dr. Graham said. “Start to build positive relationships right away.” He explained that these positive relationships would be the foundation for the year.

David Hymowitz, MSW was the guest speaker, sharing similar advice for easily transitioning into the school year. He encouraged teachers to spread hope and ensured them that by doing so, they would create more hopeful students. 

Various breakout sessions throughout the three-day conference were scheduled to provide support and training with a heavy emphasis on technology, yet also including mindfulness, music education and more. Time was also allotted for department meetings and classroom set up.

As will be the case when students arrive on Sept. 9, the Superintendent’s Conference Days required safety guidelines to be followed, including mandatory mask wearing, social distancing and sanitizing. Many of the workshops were held virtually, allowing more staff members to participate. In-person sessions required that participants sit every few seats.

“We feel that increasing from one day to three days allows us to provide staff with the support they need to begin the new year,” said Dr. Graham. “We will continue to support our staff at every level and provide the tools they need to succeed in this everchanging learning environment.”