Welcome back to school from superintendent Jill Hafey

What a summer it’s been, and what a school year it’s going to be.
Moffat County, welcome back to school. I’m so excited. If you’ve met me, you probably know this. If you haven’t, you need to. I LOVE school. I’ve made it my profession now for decades, but it’s also my passion and where I find a great deal of my joy. I’m so thrilled to welcome our students, faculty and staff back for what’s going to be truly a fantastic year back at Moffat County schools.

But, before we dive in and start learning and growing together, if you'll indulge me, I want to make a few recommendations.

First, I want to implore you parents to take time to experience and appreciate these moments. Each new milestone in a student's life is a chance to reflect, remember and rejuvenate. The first day of kindergarten is rightly an emotional one for so many parents, our little ones entering the larger world at last. But so, too, can each step thereafter be.

The transition from elementary school to middle school is so formative for a young person. They need their parents so much, whether or not they want to admit it, but yet they are taking baby steps into a grownup universe. Eighth grade to ninth is another moment of note, as wings of independence stretch and prepare for liftoff. These young freshmen crave that bright new sky of high school, and they'll find it soon enough.

Senior year is another great milestone, both for parents and children, as lasts give way to firsts and our near-adults move toward embarking upon their own lives. For parents, every milestone before this one is crystallized in our recollection as we approach the end of our students’ career through the school district. Take a moment, each time, to breathe it in, shed some tears, perhaps, and be grateful for the ride. I can tell you from experience, it's over sooner than you'll believe it, and likely sooner than you'll want it to be.

For me, the sting of something ending is often a reminder to be grateful for what I have when I have it, and part of that is giving everything I can toward making each moment great. And that brings me to my second recommendation. In Moffat County School District, making every moment great means great volunteers. It means waves and smiles in the drop-off and pickup lines. It means hellos and thank yous when you run into your child's teacher at the grocery store. It means making a teacher's day great and letting teachers make your child's day great too.

Moffat County is a great place to be. It's great because we make it great.

Third, I love a new beginning because it gives us a chance to renew our efforts and refresh our habits. I'd love it if our students picked up or reinforced some good habits this fall. You can help. Here's just one to start.

When your student gets home, help them build gratitude with a habit of recollection. Carve out 15 minutes of the afternoon or evening helping your child remember what went well today. Ask specific questions! Who did you sit with at lunch? What did you learn in math? How did your presentation go? What did you do at recess? Was that test as hard as you expected? What did your teacher say about your project? This helps kids of all ages remember and recall what went on in their lives that day — and it's great for you to get a peek into that part of their world, too. By the way, this is great for gratitude, but if there's something that didn't go well at school, it's just as important and valuable for you to be able to talk to them about that.

Which brings me to my fourth and final suggestion. Be engaged with your kids’ education. Be curious about what's going on in the classroom — and be interested in more than just your child's perspective. Come in and ask questions! Don't hesitate to contact teachers or administrators to learn more about how things are going in this important part of your student's life. But keep in mind, when you do: our teachers are passionate, talented and extremely hard working. We make mistakes, like anybody, but the intention is always to give our students a great education experience.

We need to set a tone and a culture in this district. It takes all of us to be what we want to become. I know we can do it. In many ways, we already are. But let's keep moving forward.

Have a great school year, Moffat County. Welcome back.