A New Year: Lakota Staff Say 'Here WE Go'

A New Year: Lakota Staff Say 'Here WE Go'
Posted on 08/22/2018
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Opening Day photo collage

You know it’s a special occasion when all 1,700 Lakota staff members come together under one roof.

Lakota staff opened the new school year together at Lakota West High School on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Banners and T-shirts with the words “Here WE Go” weren’t the only things setting the tone for the upcoming year.

“Last year, we saw a lot of innovation and I challenge you to keep that momentum going,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “If you have a new idea to try this year...great, do it. If you have a way to present a lesson in a different way, let’s figure out a way to say yes and get that done. If you’re interested in collaborating with teachers in another building, we’ll figure out a way to make that happen.”

“I encourage you to challenge yourself, the administrative team and our board to look for ways we can do things even better for all of our kids,” Miller continued.

Evidence of the impact of student voice on the educational experience was put on display by the students themselves. To begin, the Lakota West Marching Band kicked off the morning’s festivities in fanfare fashion. Eight students also took the mic to share some personal highlights from their educational career at Lakota, including:

  • Adena Elementary School's Javier Cox talked about a teacher who encouraged him to put his love of plants into action by creating his own community garden.

  • Will Tenoever, Ilyas Malik & Ryan Hartinger represented Liberty Junior School, talking about their experience with an after-school club called the Technology Student Association.

  • First-grader Carson Ratliff shared the story of how he and his classmates created a school bookstore at Wyandot Early Childhood School last year.

  • Beakal Amsalu gave examples of the experiences that come out of empowering her and her peers at Lakota East High School to have a voice.

  • Charlie Ullrich shared some revelations he had at Ridge Junior School last year after participating in the 1:1 technology pilot.

  • Valeria Venegas, a 2018 graduate of Lakota West High School, shared a personal account of her experience as an English language learner in Lakota and the beauty of attending a district that is rich in diversity.

A student band named “The Fritz” featured Ridge Junior seventh-graders Quinn Cooper, Max Lenhoff, Lilly Plummer and Tyler Simon. The group performed “Oh Lakota,” an upbeat song they’d written the music and lyrics for in preparation for last year’s “State of the Schools” address.

"Being new to Lakota, there was such a positive vibe at Opening Day. It made me feel like family immediately," said Cherokee teacher Jason Kennison. "Seeing the students present their accomplishments gave me such joy because it shows that Lakota is willing to nourish and encourage our students' strengths and differences."
"Opening Day is an eye-opening experience to simultaneously see how large our network of colleagues is and how many personal connections we have across 23 buildings," said Liberty Junior teacher Kristina Linberg. "As always, this year’s spotlight on the students and their achievements was such an endearing reminder of why we come to work each day. The excitement in the air for this school year to begin was palpable. It’s a great time to be a Lakota teacher."

Miller reiterated his message with a special video presentation that put on display the innovation already present in so many Lakota classrooms. He sent his team off with these words: “Dare to be great. Dare to innovate. I missed you. I’m glad you’re back. Have an awesome school year. Here WE go!”

Click here to view the complete photo gallery from Opening Day on Lakota’s Facebook page.