Practice Gratitude

This year marks the fifth year we have had a district sticker that expresses a uniting theme for the year for the Five Town CSD and Camden Rockport Schools. Over the summer, Superintendent, Maria Libby reflected on the previous school year and how best to approach the coming year, to identify an intentional action that could unite and improve our schools for the 2019-20 year. The sticker is a marketing and motivational tool for staff, students, and families who live, work, and attend Camden Hills Regional High School, Camden Rockport Middle School, and Camden Rockport Elementary School. It serves as a unifying spotlight for the year. 

DistrictstickerThis year’s district sticker is “Practice Gratitude” and the wording came to Ms. Libby as she was reading Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown this summer along with the Camden Rockport Elementary School staff. Brene Brown notes the importance of focusing on gratitude in the book.

The Districts’ goals this year are to support the corresponding year’s plan of the Strategic Plan. In addition to on-going initiatives, the Five Towns CSD’s this year’s Strategic plan goals are:

  • Reviewing the breadth of high school programming to identify and remove barriers so that all students have equal access to CHRHS opportunities.

  • Establishing a committee of students and teachers to collaborate on ways to increase the use of creative problem solving in the curriculum.

  • Planning additional opportunities to strengthen the sense of belonging and community for all incoming students during the 8th or 9th grade year.

  • Developing a student-to-student mentor program for all incoming 9th grade students.

  • Be intentional about sharing decision-making responsibility with a variety of employee groups.

  • Evaluating time usage across all areas of the district and find opportunities to increase efficiencies.

  • Continually seek opportunities to collaborate with organizations such as municipalities, local business and organizations, and neighboring districts.

  • Developing and implement a review system that enables an objective evaluation of program effectiveness.

In addition to on-going initiatives for the Camden Rockport Schools, this year’s Strategic Plan goals include:

  • Develop and sustain a program that educates, assesses and intervenes to better support students’ mental health.

  • Gather information about staff work environment.

  • Review educational opportunities and support services for all students to ensure equity.

  • Research, understand, and problem solve the obstacles families face in accessing quality pre-K programming in our community.

  • Effectively plan for and manage the move into the new building.

As part of her opening remarks, Ms. Libby also spoke to all staff about the incredible power of relationships in the work that every one of us does. “Relationships are the foundation for the rest of our work, and without spending time building relationships, the rest of that work will never have the impact it could,” she told staff. This is true not only for board members, teachers, staff, and students, but also families and community members. It may sound cliché, but we are a village and we are truly all in this together. The relationships we form with one another are what matters most.

Practicing gratitude can help strengthen relationships because it makes us feel better about ourselves and each other. It is scientifically proven to bring joy and happiness. Administrators, and teachers have already started regularly expressing gratitude as an intentional part of their work. We hope this ripples out into the community. Please join the Five Town CSD and Camden Rockport Schools in practicing gratitude and let’s see where it leads us and what great things we can accomplish together.