For the last 16 years on or about 21 August Winneconne Schools have welcomed back all the faculty and staff. Everyone comes back to some training, and to get things ready for students. In Wisconsin, school does not start until after Labor Day. So we bring the teachers back two weeks before, fill their heads with information, and then give them one more week to get ready.
The first day starts with breakfast served by some of our school board members, and then everyone moves into the auditorium. We have the obligatory welcome back speech from the District Administrator. New teachers and staff members are introduced. We even welcome all the student teachers that will be working in the district for the semester.
The first day truly marks the start of the school year for the IT department. We have been scrambling the last few weeks to get all the new equipment installed. We will now spend the next three days putting out fires. The fires are usually things like forgotten passwords that are pretty quickly fixed. In the past, though, I have had to configure all new hardware, or software that somehow got through the purchasing process without me knowing about it. The worst one I remember is when our Tech Ed department told me they were wrong about which version of Autodesk products were needed. I had spent about a week getting evreything configured, licensed, and installed. Then WHAM!!! The teachers came back and told me we needed a different version installed on all 100 tech ed computers. There were a lot of late nights that week!
Sixteen years ago I was at this meeting as a new employee, and WCSD has been my home away from home every since. There are an awful lot of great people here. I will miss learning from the teachers and staff here. The district has always given the teachers the ability to experiment with new things. I will miss working with teachers as they try new ways to integrate technology into their classrooms. I really am looking forward to coming back in three or four years, to see where the district has moved next.