“Word of the Year.” It’s a phrase normally heard on New Year’s Day. People aspiring to make changes in their lives use a word to keep their focus all year long. So for educators, it’s only fitting to think of this word right before the school year begins.
It began during my first year as superintendent when I was required to attend numerous trainings. One of the trainings had us focus on what our opening day message would be to staff. Alter much thought, I decided to choose a word of the year and center my message on that word. I had recently finished reading My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen so it seemed to be the perfect fit.
In my first year (2016,) I chose the word team. I felt it was important the staff realized the team concept of working together to support the vision of preparing our students. I wanted everyone to know they were an important component of the team and everyone had a role to play.
Honestly, as I was getting ready for my second year’s opening day message, I was not thinking about centering it on a word. It wasn’t until a staff member said to me, “I can’t wait to see what our word is this year” for me to think, “ok, let’s do this again”.
Last year I chose the word positivity, which you can read about in my September 2017 blog post.
So now, I’m here at year three (p.s., time flies.) I struggled narrowing it down to one word. I had chosen two words before I changed my mind and settled on the word unity. Unity is defined as the state of being joined as a whole. Our district had just completed work on a strategic plan and our vision and mission are solid. It was time to unite everyone around this.
Below are two of my favorite quotes on unity.
We must be unified in our goal of providing a safe and supportive environment for students to learn and grow. Unity is strength and can provide a marvelous victory for our students if we are all working with the same vision and mission in mind.
I challenged the staff to think about how their actions can affect all of us. We are in this together.
I am looking forward to a great year.