As I was reflecting on this past week my brain started exploring the connections our school has to the larger community. Monday I took my boys to their first cub scout meeting. It was held at the Randolph – one of Troop 710’s base of operation. It was a special night – egg drop. The kids had brought a shoe box with an egg padded inside. A local fire station came with their ladder truck on all of our younger dens and older troop boys were gathered outside. The turnout was incredible, the bus parking area and cafeteria not only swarming with kids, but with volunteering parents as well. I loved seeing how the older troop boys were put in charge of leading the younger dens around, teaching our older ones to help those coming behind them.
Wednesday was Constitution Day, and I spoke a few times in the cafeteria to explain how we were all the middle of studying community, governments, rules, and laws – which connected to other schools by celebrating the important document together. It ends up third grade was in fit perfectly. We were also able to tie in a discussion about the upcoming SCA elections. The younger grades were excited about gettingto vote, and the older ones humored me in listening to how the representatives were similar to our own government’s structure.
That afternoon I coached the U8 GUSA/YMCA soccer team. Nine of our Randolph boys join me outside on the field near the baseball diamond. Yet another connection to another community group. We had our game at the upper Hidden Rock Park fields Saturday and I saw so many of our Roadrunners there. And again, many adults and older kids (referees) taking care of our younger ones.
And then lastly, Field Day of the Past today. What an incredible event that has become. We purposefully aimed for Sunday because of the Read to Win program that gives recognition to summer and early school year reading. Free admission, free ride tickets, and a special visit with our superintendent, James Lane. And the whole Goochland community (unless you went Friday or Saturday) there to celebrate the importance of motivating our kids to read.
We moved here in 2006 for Shannon to commute to Charlottesville. Little did we know that we had landed in a neighborhood, a school, and a county that would be such fertile ground for growing good kids and supporting each other. I find myself thinking about our school systems vision (inspiring and preparing the next generation to make a positive impact) and mission (to maximize the potential of every learner). Are we living them? Read this post again if the answer isn’t clear.
This past Thursday I celebrated my first “Back to School Night” with our Roadrunners. I think just under half our our families visited. Unfortunately we had some older sibling sports conflicts that effected attendance. Also I think many folks showed up at 7pm to go straight to classrooms. I certainly understand the stretching that a family goes through – already activities pulling us different ways with our three young ones.
I thought I’d share a few excerpts of my opening speech:
Welcome to Back to School Night. It’s hard to believe we’ve almost completed 4 weeks. As most of you know, I’m Dan Gardner, new principal, but 3rd year roadrunner parent. I’m glad to see so many of you here tonight, so many in fact that we are trying out a live feed (written prior to knowing about the sports conflict!), using Google hangout to reach folks in the gym. To begin the evening I’d like to call upon Scout Troop 710 to lead us in the pledge of allegiance. As they depart – I ask for a moment of silence in recognition of those that gave lives on September 11th.
We’ve had a great start to the year. Students and staff are working hard and having fun while doing it. I have appreciated the warm welcome by faculty, students and families. Recently I’ve told others how as a parent I have personally known this is a great school, but I can now professionally say that our children attend a top notch school in a high performing and forward thinking county. I have seen our school community’s vision and mission in action, truly believing that this family is committed to maximizing learning, and inspiring each other to make a positive impact not just here, but in the surrounding and global lives that we touch.
In just a moment I’d like to turn it over to the Parent Teacher Association. In my educational career I have been blessed with strong PTA’s. I’ve seen funding and hundreds of volunteer hours support technology purchases, playground upgrades, educational material enhancements, and facility improvements. All of those pieces and more add up to one huge thing – a better education for our children. Please listen to what our PTA has done and what they plan to do. And while listening please remember that when I say “our PTA” I mean us. I encourage all of you to not only to join, but to jump in and find ways that you can be involved.