Writing this after the fact, here is how I thought our first day was going to go:
I’d like to welcome you all to opening day 2016!
We’ll start by having the teachers who are new to the district parade around the auditorium in their new schools colors and while carrying their new school flag.
Next we’ll have everyone stand and have you sit down in ascending order according to the age of your cell phone. I love a good flip phone. No cell phone?! I am a little bit jealous.
Now that all of the formalities are out of the way, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Glenn Farrell, two ns, 2rs, 2ls- I get slightly enraged when people use 1, you’ve been warned. This is my 10th year teaching 8th grade mathematics, the best 9 have been here in Danvers. I have a young family up in Newburyport. My wife is a third grade teacher, my daughters are 4 ½ and 2 ¼; family time is very important to me. Luckily I have just enough time for my teaching and union duties.
On to some of those duties. The two biggest things on our plate this year are the upcoming ballot question number 2 that calls for the lifting of ‘the cap’ on charter schools and, soon after that, the DTA contract negotiations. One of these may seem more personal than the other, however, I truly believe that each of us shares some responsibility in each outcome.
The “No on 2” campaign is certainly being championed by the MTA, but I believe we all can help support this cause in some manner. The easy thing to say is that “this is not a Danvers problem”. It is true that many other communities suffer more loss of funds than we, what’s $30,000 right… To that I am scared to say that I think Danvers may be the perfect community to host one of these type schools, by then it might be too late. There will be several ways for each of you to get involved, the easiest of which is to learn about the campaign yourself. Become educated and talk to those around you. You may be surprised at some of the misconceptions people have around the topic.
Contract Negotiations will follow pretty closely to the the November voting. While I admit my inexperience in this field, I am looking forward to working with those that have a bit more. If you would like to be involved on this year’s committee please contact me. I hope to have a positive experience during this process. I ask that you please make every effort to attend the 10-minute meetings we will undoubtedly be having during the course of the year, there is power in shared information. In general, be ready to unite and work together to get this done, everyone has a role to play.
Another thing that I would ask of you, is to find out who your building reps are. They do a lot of work and are your direct line of communication and information. You have an issue? Go see them. You want to know what’s going on? Go see them.
My word for the year is “hopeful”. I am hopeful for this school year. I am hopeful that my students will succeed. I am hopeful that I will help guide my students toward that success. I am hopeful that Tom Brady comes back with a vengeance that ends with him holding the Lombardi Trophy. I am hopeful that the public will recognize the worth of public schools and vote down the charter school expansion. I am hopeful that we will negotiate a fair and worthy contract without too much duress. I am hopeful that the Red Sox will make a run in October. I am hopeful that my family will have a happy and healthy year. I am hopeful that we, the educators of the Danvers Public Schools, make meaningful improvements in the lives of the children we work with, and in turn in the community that we support.
Yours in the joyful struggle,
Ext. 3307 firstname.lastname@example.org