Superintendent Dr. Raymond González welcomed back staff on Wednesday, Sept. 1 as the Westfield Public School District prepared for the return of students on Thursday, Sept. 9.
During two opening day ceremonies for elementary and secondary educators, González -- who joined the district on Aug. 2 -- welcomed 42 new staff members and applauded the teachers and staff gathered in the Westfield High School auditorium for their dedication, perseverance, and commitment to their students throughout the pandemic.
González reiterated that the educational, physical, and emotional health and wellness of students and staff remains a priority, as outlined in A Safe Return, the district’s plan for the 2021-2022 school year which is posted on the district and school websites at www.westfieldnjk12.org.
Westfield Education Association President Gail Alston, WEA Negotiating Team Member Lori Swanson and Board of Education President Amy Root also were on hand to welcome the educators and to praise their hard work and dedication, especially during a challenging year.
Following a delayed opening to allow staff time to address any aftermath of Hurricane Ida, teachers and paraprofessionals gathered again on Thursday, Sept. 2 for professional learning organized by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Programs Paul Pineiro and facilitated by district administrators. There were sessions and workshops focusing on identifying/addressing student learning gaps, subject area curriculum reviews, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), COVID protocols/procedures, and other topics.
On August 30 and 31, the 42 new staff members attended a two-day, in-house orientation as part of the New Staff Institute (NSI). The NSI is a two-year program designed to support first-time educators and those who are new to the district. The comprehensive program is organized by Human Resources Specialist Barbara Ball and her staff, along with a leadership team comprised of seasoned Westfield educators.
“During the month since I joined the Westfield Public School District, I have enjoyed meeting our extraordinary administrators, teachers, and staff,” says González. “I am inspired, but not surprised, by their unwavering devotion to their students. I look forward to the 2021-2022 school year and to our continued partnership with our school community.”