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The kind of energy usually reserved for Friday night football games reverberated through the stands at 8 a.m., on a Thursday as nearly 3,000 people welcomed the upcoming school year. 

“It’s time we return to an environment where you unleash your expertise and passion to connect with students, helping them grow academically, socially and emotionally,” said Superintendent Tom Gregory.

When staff members were asked to stand, marking how many years they’ve dedicated to the district, their colleagues shouted in solidarity and wildly shook silver and blue pom-poms.

“Whether you’re teaching carpentry or calculus, the work you’re doing is changing lives. I can assure you this because I wouldn’t be standing here without that work,” said Joshua Loehr, the event’s student speaker.

The bleachers vibrated with commotion, as music blared through the stadium’s speakers. When the heat began to wear the crowd, “professionally” trained t-shirt slingers, including ASD20 Board of Education and Cabinet members, emerged to pump them back up. Each round of a t-shirt toss represented a district’s value statement.

Teacher speaker, Cynthia Jacquet, Science Department Chair at Eagleview Middle School reminded educators that the work to make everyone feel included starts with them.

She said, “It is we who live out the district’s value statements. People are the heart of our success, relationships matter, and we provide quality education.”

To drive her words home, Jacquet invited teachers from other schools to share their strategy.

“I foster a culture of belonging by encouraging all my students to speak their truth and to respect other’s truths,” explained Michael Carpenter, a Discovery Canyon Campus High School language arts teacher. 

John Ross, a math teacher at Mountain Ridge Middle School said, “When I think of belonging, I think of having a seat at the table. I want to challenge you to give all students a seat at the table.”

Equipped with the district’s mission, vision and value and newfound energy, educators left the ASD20 Stadium ready to start the new school year and help all students thrive.