Every school year begins with an opening day of reunions and meetings. The opening for the 2021-2022 school year felt very different.
Colton High teachers were welcomed “home” in an return event that was as much about celebrating the return to school after a year in quarantine as it was about getting teachers up to speed about what to expect in the coming days.
“I am especially excited to get everyone under one roof,” exclaimed CHS principal, Joda Murphy, who served as master of ceremonies for the welcome back meeting.
The celebration began with a cheer. CHS cheerleaders, joined by Yogi, the school’s mascot, exuberantly screamed for each teacher walking up the steps to the gymnasium. Inside, the teachers found breakfast from Panera Bread waiting, and were later treated to a lunch box from Jersey Mike’s.
Dressed in Hawaiian-themed clothes, CHS’ teachers spent their first morning back catching up, laughing, and sharing their excitement about returning to their classrooms. Hawaiian leis, plastic sunglasses, and other photo-ready props were out and about for selfies at the photo booth.
Once the meeting started, teachers were prepared for the Grand ReOpening, CJUSD’s social-emotional initiative for the first eight days of the coming school year. Each of the first eight days will focus on social-emotional lessons in the classroom in addition to academic content.
An exciting moment of the event was the introduction of new staff for the coming year. As an acknowledgment of the strangeness of the Distance Learning dominated 2020-2021 school year, Principal Murphy introduced all new staff hired in the last two years. Twenty-two new staff members joined her for the moment.
While the new year carries with it some new challenges—the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, concerns about facility management, and getting students refamiliarized with the classroom environment—the tone is altogether positive and excited.
Daisy Contreras, AVID Coordinator and Social Sciences teacher, put it best: “I feel like I skipped a year. It was so nice seeing my work family. I missed them. This bunch always brings a smile to my face.”