One of the fondest memories I have of the first day of school, when I was a student (a thousand years ago), was that anticipation of a whole new year, a new teacher, new books, new friends and new things to learn. All things were possible.
I can imagine the anticipation of our students and teachers this year. For many of them this opening day means a new school, new faces, new bus routes and a new principal. In addition to that, for 10 of our schools piloting the STREAM program, robotics, rocketry, engineering and a unified curriculum will enable students to work with real-world applications.
For all our schools, the after-school STREAM academies will offer students the opportunities to be a part of robotics teams, design innovations for Invention Convention, imagine their tomorrow with Future Cities competitions, and get hands-on arcade design experience.
For our schools that are not piloting STREAM, they have chosen to focus on math, English language skills or technology. Many of our schools have invested in securing learning materials geared toward their focus, or are making major upgrades to their school buildings, including the installation of updated science labs and one-on-one computing devices.
In addition, our principals will have had an intensive three-day training on professional development geared toward helping teachers so that they can enable them to work smarter, not harder. For our teachers, the innovations that we have introduced will present a challenge, one that they are more than able to handle.
We look forward to our biennial diocesan convocation where, this year, our teachers and administrators will hear national speakers explain the infusion of Catholic values into the Common Core, and teachers who have been piloting this infusion program will present the results of their experience. Bishop Richard J. Malone will be with us as we celebrate the excitement and anticipation of being together as a Catholic school community.
Since 1847, the Diocese of Buffalo has expressed its care for the children of the diocese by providing excellent Catholic education grounded in the faith. While so much has changed in our schools, the drive and determination of our teachers and principals to give our students a rigorous academic program infused with Gospel values has not.
As we open our doors to this 2014-2015 school year, we salute our students and their parents for continuing to entrust their futures to us. We salute our teachers and administrators for living out their vocations as Catholic school educators. We salute our pastors and our boards for ensuring that Catholic schools thrive. Because of all of these wonderful people, we can continue to say, "all things are possible."