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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

Fall in the 203

Mine is not a unique story. Fall in the 203 always brings a mixture of anticipation and apprehension. Even in my 20th year, I often wonder whether I have prepared enough to meet the challenges of greeting my students where they are. For good or ill, aspects of the Cinderella story dance about me like small fairies in pastel dresses. I recognize the same expectancy for the upcoming school year as she does for the impending prince's ball. So much to do. When I think I am ready, I'll discover details that I have forgotten, copies not yet copied, contacts not yet made. It just adds to the excitement. Cue the orchestra and swell the crescendo.

The Summer weather taunts me like evil step sisters. It insinuates itself into my progress. Working amid the dying embers of last year, my plan for the perfect start to the year takes time and focus. If you listen carefully however, good weather in Maine whispers on its breeze “Come play with me Dan. You'll have time for that later.” Things that I want to do, or should do are too easily overidden by its temptress' call. Perseverance is the welcome Fairy Godmother that makes the magic happen.

I don't have a cadre of tuneful mice to help me dress the 203 in the colorful raiment of the new year, or move desks to best meet the needs of the incoming students, or copy the first couple of day's lesson notes and materials. I could use them to send letters of introduction and reintroduction to The 203 advisory families. I had to redesign the Crockerbox Palace to reflect changes in our curriculum and Google support. Nevertheless, turning a newly cleaned 203 pumpkin into a beautiful coach that will whisk uncertain learners toward the magic of learning takes the help of many including my family, colleagues and team members.

The excitement is not mine alone. Similar activities are happening across the Regional School Unit. The 203 families go through their own preparations. Clothes and supplies are bought. Friends are called to cross reference schedules. Backpacks are filled, in some cases days in advance. Perhaps this is the first year for musical instruments or playing on a team. Parents discuss with their students potential Middle School social/emotional challenges. Nerves are calmed.

In spite of it all, or because of it all, our first week happened and we all survived. To my knowledge we are all planning on going back next week. Ten minutes ago, the music began and we've started learning how to dance together. Now we just have to hold on to both of our shoes. Impossible things are happening every day.

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