Fork in the Road: A Symbol for the School Year

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Emotions are the gateway to learning for our students as well as for our staff. How can we tap into that as we start the year? As we know, our first interactions with staff during August workshop week are important for setting the stage for our important work with children. Each school year, I try to find an activity or an object as a touchstone for the year. This year is the Year of the Fork.

Presentation Excerpt from Our Opening Staff Meeting

Everyone this morning received a fork with your name etched on it. I made it just for you. This small gift is a symbol and reminder as we start this important journey of the 2017-2018 school year together.

First, this fork represents a fork in the road. We have 19 new teachers and paraprofessionals this fall. Professionally, the beginning of this school year is a fork in the road for many of you as you join our Kimberly Lane family. Also, it is a fork in the road for all of us as we now get to learn with you and from you. We are so glad you are here. Welcome.

Secondly, each fork has your name on it. No one’s fork looks the same. It represents the personalization we will bring to our work this year. We need to meet each and every child where he or she is, and help each child be better, every day. Academically. Socially. Emotionally. That is our charge for the year. And it is our honor to dedicate our time and talents be a part of such meaningful work in shaping the future. Together.

Finally, I wanted to share a personal story that involves my Grandpa Orville – and forks. Orville carried a fork in the breast pocket of his shirt to every event that involved food. Family reunions. Potlucks. Coffee cake socials in church basements. You name it. All through my youth I didn’t really notice this idiosyncrasy until someone pointed it out to me. At that point, I remember asking Grandpa Orville why he carried the fork. He replied, “So I am always ready for dessert, and a reminder that the best is yet to come.” At his funeral several years ago, we made sure to place a fork in his breast pocket before he was laid to rest, and his eulogy included fond remarks about that trademark fork. Hopefully the fork you received will be a part of many meals, celebrations, and fond memories that you will share with this Kimberly Lane family this year and in the years to come.

As we look ahead to the school year in front of us, I want to thank you in advance for all of your hard work and dedication and for all of the great things we will accomplish together this year. Thank you for all of your efforts to personalize, to help each child be his or her best self every day as we take this journey from this fork in the road. Yes, I can feel it. 2017-2018… the best is yet to come.

Kari Wehrmann

Kimberly Lane Elementary, Wayzata Public Schools
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