About the first week of school: Some highlights and reflections

first day of schoolOkay, it’s Friday. We are off to a great start to the school year. Just three days in and everyone seems like they never left. I love all the smiles around our school.

Some highlights and observations:

First of all, our superintendent, Hank Grishman taking the ice bucket challenge at the conclusion of his opening remarks was nothing short of epic. I have seen this thing going around for weeks now but nothing tops Hank’s iteration. You can catch the video here. I’ve seen some weathermen on TV get away with a couple of cubes and some water being poured over their heads. Hank had Barbara Bauer, Victor Manuel and Ben Ciuffo dump three full buckets of icy water over his head. That’s how it’s done! Gotta admit, those three seemed to enjoy it a little too much.

The weather has been extremely hot this first week and Hank suggested “business casual attire” to the administrative cabinet. Day one, I wore a tie but after I saw Hank touring the building with the Board of Education wearing a polo shirt and khakis I jumped on board. Gotta admit, it feels much more civilized in the hot, humid building to be walking around in short sleeves and no tie. Maybe this could be a first week of school tradition, I certainly hope so.

Due to retirements and other factors, we hired five new teachers this year. As I have had the opportunity to informally see their work and we’ve enjoyed getting to know them in this first week of school; I have the feeling they are going to make a dramatic positive impact on our school.


First day of classes, at lunch, I saw a sixth grader wearing a classic Ali versus Frazier T-shirt. Made my day. Now if we can get kids to come to school with Brady Bunch lunchboxes I’ll feel like I’m back in middle school myself.


I asked a sixth-grader on the first day of school, “How are you doing, everything good?” He replied,” “No, not good… Everything is great!” That really made my day.

Locker decorating on the first day of school with help from parents seems to get bigger every year. It looks like mom and dad are having more fun than the kids. Sixth grade locker: My First Piece of Real Estate!


A hot topic for staff… What are you going to use for your security ID badge – lanyard or clip? So far lanyards are crushing clips 10:1! I know I’m going with the lanyard, I can only imagine how many badges I will lose if I have them clipped to my belt. We don’t need no stinking badges!

I am enjoying the shock on kids’ faces when they notice my new hairstyle for the first time. Most common question, “Dr. Gately, where’s your hair?” Most common response, “It was time…”


That’s enough for now, if more occurs to me I will Tweet it out. I’d love to hear your opening of school reflections!

Going to be a great year!

About dfgately

Middle School Principal Jericho, NY
This entry was posted in Educational Focus, Inside the Middle School, Personal Best, Reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to About the first week of school: Some highlights and reflections

  1. Lisa Meade says:

    Don, what a great post! Sounds like a great week. Something tells me you are the coolest principal there is…humid weather or not!

  2. esundb says:

    Right you are, Don. Best opening week ever! Everyone made everyone welcome.
    Brady Bunch lunchbox?

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