It seems fitting that in my inaugural column for ThisWeekinWorcester, is a discussion on new and exciting beginnings.

The beginning of the school year has always been a time I look forward to with a sense of excitement during my more than twenty years in the Worcester Public Schools system as a student and elected official.

This year is no different.  

McCullough: Start of the School Year is Great Reason to Get Excited 1

On Friday, Aug. 25, I had the pleasure of attending the Opening of School and Recognition Ceremony at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. This event is a welcoming-back program for WPS teachers and administrators and it was amazing.

The excitement and enthusiasm shown by all WPS staff in the hall was contagious. Individual school and district wide spirit was present throughout the arena. Colleagues were supporting staff members from other schools with raucous applause while cheering on others teachers who had received awards for distinction in their classroom practice. Many teachers dressed in school colors and carried banners that announced their school motto or school focus.

In particular, the city’s educators embraced guest speaker Manny Scott’s theme: “You can be a student’s best hope.”  Those powerful words echoed the sentiments and actions of all in attendance.

Hopefully, our teachers will be able to recall this spirit and maintain their commitment as they encounter the daily challenges of teaching in a large, urban school district throughout this year.

The  teachers and staff in WPS shape the lives of our children each and every day. They are charged with developing the entire child – academically, socially, physically, and emotionally.  

Those of you who are parents know this challenge well as you raise your own children.  And, as always, we look to working with all parents to help us achieve this goal.

Many of our staff members, over the years, have provided new backpacks, clothing, supplies and even food to our needy children. These teachers set an example for new educators who will witness the true meaning of the phrase “Child-centered Education”.

My hope is that every teacher understands the impact of a kind word or a word of praise to a student. Teachers are highly respected and are counted on to set an example of appropriate behavior, citizenship and high standards. Everyone in a community expects this level of manner from its teachers. The teachers in the WPS do not disappoint in this regard.  And we are fortunate to have a community which supports our goals with its resources and time.

I am honored to be a part of a school system where our Superintendent and staff value and prioritize the overall experience for all of our children — with an informed focus of developing lifelong learners who can give back to our community and beyond — based on the skills we develop and the knowledge we impart to them.

Here’s to a great school year!

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