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This year, after receiving feedback attendees look forward to also connecting with students at the Back-to-School rally, they morning was packed with student participation.

The Pine Creek High School Cheerleaders, joined by the district’s Culture of Belonging Work Group, welcomed staff and district football players helped toss shirts into the crowd.

The ASD20 student Color Guard kicked off the event, presenting the colors and Discovery Canyon Campus student Kate Nueffer sang an impressive rendition of the National Anthem.

There was even a high-energy “half-time” performance from the Pine Creek High School Trombone Danger Zones, under the direction of Kate Margrave and Stoney Black.

The morning also featured three speakers: Aly Johnson, business and DECA teacher from Air Academy High School, Liberty High School student Bre Fraker, and new Superintendent Jinger Haberer.

Johnson reminded all those who work in education that they, “are good at really hard things.” They serve as students trusted person, they chaperon them to competitions and games, and they love unconditionally.

Johnson explained educators are courageous, sharing the definition of courage is: “Standing in front of a middle school class and saying literally anything.”

Her words were echoed by student Bre Fraker, who praised her teachers for not only teaching her, “the pythagorean theorem, the oxford comma, and even that the mitochondria was the powerhouse of the cell,” but for also “teaching her what kindness is, and why it is so important.”

Fraker told teachers, “Your work is not appreciated or valued nearly as much as it should be, because what you do changes lives.” As she closed her speech, she encouraged teachers to try to change one life each day, reminding them, they have already changed more lives than they realize.

New Superintendent Jinger Haberer echoed Bre’s words, quoting Margaret Meade in saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens (that is all of you) can change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

One of Haberer’s core beliefs is the importance of collective efficacy, teams that create common goals, measures, and actions together and that focus on student learning and shared accountability for results.

In fact, all the speakers wore shirts that said, “Academy District 20 Team One,” the same shirts tossed into the crowd. These shirts were created because Haberer sees the district, “as one large learning community, not working in silos, but instead recognizing and appreciating our differences and our need to learn and lean into each other.”

Haberer encouraged educators to, “Take a whole child approach and dream big for the sake of our students,” adding, “we want every student to experience high levels of learning and graduate with the confidence that they know their strengths, have explored various career options and are ready to be a productive citizen in this ever-changing world.”

She closed her speech, and the Rally, asking for ASD20 Team One to engage in three calls to action:  

  1. Assume positive intent in others.

  2. Lean in to challenges when they come your way and ask your team for support.

  3. Reflect on the belief that, “A joyful and grateful heart has a continual feast,” and each day look for ways to be creative, have a sense of humor and believe you are making a positive impact with children.