Convocation Opens New Year In Poughkeepsie

POUGHKEEPSIE – Poughkeepsie City School District employees came together in person for the first time in three years to enjoy the annual Convocation event. The last two years were virtual.

After the presentation by the PHS Color Guard, Superintendent Dr. Eric Jay Rosser delivered his school opening speech, thanking the staff for their commitment to the students of the Poughkeepsie City School District over the past several years.

“In preparation of today’s opening message, I reflected on the last three years, thinking about the obstacles that have confronted us and the opportunities we have taken full advantage of. In each instance, be it an obstacle or opportunity, members of this organization were present doing their part to Champion all Students. Each of you have contributed to our ability and capacity as a district to execute our mission to inspire and nurture the whole child by providing innovative, high-quality educational opportunities that prepare all students to embark on individual paths of success in a globally diverse community. For this, I thank you, on behalf of all PCSD students, families and our community.”

Dr. Rosser continued his presentation chronicling the dismal state of the district in 2019 when he came on board and provided multiple examples of how the collective work of the school community and critical partners has resulted in demonstrable districtwide improvements that speak to the transformation efforts of the district. Dr. Rosser discussed the current state of the district and articulated that the work the school community and its critical partners are doing must continue. This will require “an unrelenting commitment to the goals of the strategic plan,” Rosser said, concluding his presentation by sharing high level samples of the 2022-23 District performance objectives.

The opening session also welcomed Tracey Johnson, retired associate with the New York State Department of Education Office of Innovative and School Reform, as the keynote speaker. Johnson applauded the work of the school district, referencing a period of time when the district was in peril and acknowledging the evidence that has changed the narrative of the district. Johnson focused her time on breaking down what it means to be a Champion of Children.

She said the predisposition of serving is to “Love what you do and the children you serve. Maintain faith in the students and be empathic, and have hope. She closed stating “I encourage you to chronicle the marvel, because the world needs to know that even though there have been some challenges, you continued to fight the fight of faith. Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we don’t see. In 2019 and 2020, it may not have looked like things were happening, but the seeds that were planted have begun to germinate and it does not yet appear all that shall be. Again, I encourage you to chronicle the marvel for all to see the great things that are being done!”

Employees participated in mandatory trainings for the remainder of the morning before being dismissed to their schools in the afternoon for faculty meetings and classroom setup.
Today’s sessions took place in person and virtually, dividing employees by grade level or special area, providing specialized training for librarians, and those people serving as health aides, monitors, greeters, nurses and health teachers. Topics included Fundations (a language learning program), Pre-K On My Way curriculum, Ready Mathematics from Curriculum Associates, De-escalation training and more.

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