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At Siwanoy School everyone feels safe, welcome and respected. We develop the intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and creative growth of each student. We ensure our students have the skills and competencies needed to apply learning to new and ever-changing challenges. Our students become life-long learners and engaged citizens. All members of our school community share in creating a joyful, compassionate, and responsive environment where the whole child matters.
Adopted by Siwanoy Site Based Council March 12, 2013
Welcome! Whether you are returning to Siwanoy or coming for the first time, I welcome you to the new school year. I love the start of the school year, and when I searched in my heart for inspiration to help us move our thoughts from summer to school, I knew what I was seeking when I found it. Why is our school special, and what do we do to “…make it better and better as the years roll on?” Each year as I set down my thoughts, I do so with the joy and the anticipation of seeing the school come alive once again with the sounds of children, and the excitement and energizing effect of learning. I also do so with a renewed commitment to our children, our staff, and our families, to provide the best possible education in a nurtured, caring learning environment.
“What is special about Siwanoy?” That is a question I ask the children and teachers when I take prospective parents around on a tour of the building. Year after year, regardless of the grade, I get the same answers. From the teachers: “The children and their involved families.” From the children: “The teachers are great.” “They make learning fun.” “You can make lots of friends here.”
So what is so special?
A Committed, Collaborative, Reflective, and Professional Staff
Siwanoy’s teachers and staff are professionals. Our teachers hold advanced degrees and dual certifications. They are knowledgeable, open to new ideas, and eager to provide the best learning environment for our students. Teachers work in grade level teams, both at Siwanoy and across the district. We work collaboratively as a school staff on various initiatives that are linked to district goals. The staff and I will develop these goals and initiatives at the start to the school year. Something special about Siwanoy is that our faculty and staff know the children, and are accessible to them through the lunch program, as enrichment teachers, in Town Meetings, and via class buddies. Over the summer they have been busy taking, or teaching courses, reading, planning, and reenergizing for the new school year.
Our Caring School Community
Our Site Based Council recently adopted a mission and vision statement: “Siwanoy School…Where Every Child Matters.” Ensuring that every child matters requires the commitment of every member of our school community. At our Town Meetings we discuss issues such as school rules, fairness, bullying, and ways to respond to issues brought forward by students. Teachers take time to establish classroom rules with their students based on their hopes and dreams for the school year. We have established codes of behavior that we teach and that we expect students to adhere to. As a small school in a close-knit community, we have the opportunity to get to know each other. We value the different perspectives, interests, and personalities of the members of our community. The more we know about each other, the more we can appreciate each other, and the more inclusive we become.
We are so fortunate to have families that are involved in the education of their children. There are numerous ways that parents can become involved both in the support of their child’s schoolwork and in the support of the school at large. We enjoy an active PTA. Parents can get involved by joining a committee: from the Dads’ Club, to the Spring Fling, to the Science Fair, to the Hospitality Committee, there is something for everyone. Parents can volunteer to help out in the lunchroom or on the playground for just one day or for many. Parents who cannot get to school during the workday have opportunities to support the school and help out as well. The parent/teacher partnership is extremely important, we value it, and we nurture it.
What makes a school a school is the children. Our students come to school eager to learn, inquisitive about the world around them, and open to learning. Through their behavior and tremendous effort to learn, they bring us joy each day through our work with them. I know I speak for all the adults in our school community when I say that we strive to open up the world to them, preparing them for the possibilities that await them as they move through Siwanoy and beyond.
Steve Jobs was only partially right when he said, “And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” There is nothing “just” about it! What is missing is the effort and the teamwork that it takes for that better and better to happen. Please join me in rolling up our sleeves for the best school year ever for your children, for our staff, and for you.