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August 13, 2012

Today the students return to school after summer vacation. A wide array of endless possibilities awaits them as they enter our classrooms. Each of us has a role to play in their education. Harry Wong, in his book, The First Days of School, writes this to new teachers: “You have a magnificent future awaiting you.” To veteran teachers he states that “This is your chance to leave a legacy to education.” And finally, to administrators and leaders Mr. Wong writes, “This is the chance of your educational lifetime to affect reform” in education. Indeed, this is a critical time for our students and staff. The first few days of school are important because they set the tone for learning and expectations for the rest of the year. There are four things that may help you get the 2012-2013 school year off to a superb beginning:

  • Personalize the classroom

  • Greet the students as they enter your room

  •  Begin with introductions of yourself and the students

  •  Make parental contacts (verbal/written) early to begin building relationships

  •  Make your room inviting

  •  Post some positive and encouraging quotes in the classroom

  •  End the day with a personal word as they leave

  • Establish firm discipline

  •  Finalize your rules, procedures, consequences and rewards as soon as possible

  •  Stay in close proximity of your students

  •  Reinforce good conduct when possible

  •  Regularly assess your enthusiasm, empathy, sense of fairness and sense of humor

  •  Foster a learning atmosphere

  •  Plan for instruction

  •  Prepare instructional materials for distribution

  •  Ensure that your room is aesthetically appealing

  •  Take time to explain ALL procedures to students

  • Insist on high expectations for yourself and your students

  • Dress in an appropriate manner for your assigned duties

  • Everyday post an assignment for students to begin when they enter the room

  •  Clearly write, state and review (summarize) the day’s learning objective

  •  Explain safety rules and emergency procedures in detail to your students

    An unknown author once wrote that “One only gets a single chance to make a good first impression.” Make school personal, establish positive discipline, create a learning climate and stress safety. On behalf of the Pittsylvania County School Board may I take this opportunity to wish for each of you a memorable and magnificent school year!


The buses begin rolling today as we start another school year. Accolades to Ms. Ann Cassada, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, Mr. Bobby Lovelace, Director of Pupil Transportation, Mr. Barry Rowles, Shop Foreman, Mr. Jim Jones, Parts and Inventory Control, Ms. Debbie Shelton, Pupil Transportation Specialist, Ms. Sylvia Woods, Administrative Assistant, and special thanks to the men who work in the shop: Mr. David Brooks, Mr. Alfred Callands, Mr. Shawn Fraser, Mr. Bill French, Mr. James Hardy, Mr. Junior Pyron, Mr. Wallace Richardson and Mr. Brad Talbard. These individuals are primarily responsible for making the buses safe for transporting our precious cargo, the children of Pittsylvania County.

This year we will continue to spotlight the Pittsylvania County Schools Employee of the Week. We will begin with Union Hall Elementary School during the week of August 20–24, 2012. It is my hope that you will join me in congratulating and acknowledging the contributions of these worthy individuals. Please click on the following link to find out the schedule and what our employees do to make this A Great Place to Learn and Work!

mark calendars

Principals are reminded of the deadlines listed in the front of the electronic notebook provided at our Principals’ and Supervisors’ Workshop on July 30, 2012. May I suggest that the listing be placed in a prominent area for quick reference and review.

The Pittsylvania County School Board will conduct its next meeting on August 14, 2012, here at the Administrative Offices in Chatham, Virginia. The closed session will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the business meeting will start at 7:00 p.m. All interested persons are invited to attend.


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