MATTAPOISETT — Superintendent Michael S. Nelson, district administration and the principals at each school building are pleased to welcome teachers and students back for the new school year.
Students across the Old Rochester Regional School District and MA Superintendency Union #55 returned for full in-person learning today, Aug. 31.
“We hope that all of our students, families and staff had a fun and safe summer,” Superintendent Nelson said. “After a unique start to the school year last year, our administrators and educators across the district were beyond excited to welcome our students back in person today and kick off the new year. We are thrilled to have our students and educators together again in their classrooms, and look forward to the coming year.”
Appropriate health and safety measures remain in place to limit exposure to and transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing, contact tracing, in-house COVID-19 testing opportunities, HVAC/air quality maintenance and hygiene and disinfection protocols.
Prior to students returning today, opening day for staff took place Monday with keynote speaker Keith Davis of Just Say Yes. Just Say Yes (JSY) is a nonprofit that works to help ensure students feel connected and valued, which in turn can lead to healthier choices among youth. Through several types of programs, JSY aims to connect students to positive messages and healthy relationships that will help them navigate cultural pressures.
JSY offers trainings for educators as well to improve connections between educators and students, or help them identify and reduce risk behaviors in students.
Davis is a former college and professional football player who, after suffering a career-ending injury, turned to motivational speaking with the hopes of being a positive voice for youth.
Through his speaking programs for staff, he reminds educators of the lasting impact they can have on a student’s life, encourages them to improve connections with students of diverse backgrounds and helps them to understand the importance of a “team” mentality among colleagues.
“We were honored to have Keith as our speaker for opening day, and we thank him for joining us,” said Rose Bowman, principal at the Center School and Old Hammondtown School. “It was great to hear his experiences and messages around supporting each other as colleagues and the importance of connecting with our students, which is a message that has renewed importance after the unprecedented year our students experienced last year.”
The district also celebrated the work of educators, embraced the idea of cultivating a sense of belonging for all students and renewed its focus on teaching and learning as the year begins.