First Week of School


We all look forward to the first week of school – those first four days can say a lot about how the rest of the school year might go. That is why we want to dedicate the first week to developing positive relationships with students and staff so that we can improve school culture throughout the district. By improving our school culture, we can change perceptions others might have about what kind of district we are. Being “urban” brings its own kinds of challenges but that just means we have to find kind, caring, and innovative ways of doing our work. As an economically challenged community, we have to marshal all of our resources to make sure the students are safe, successful, and welcome every day of the school year. And because we work hard to ensure this kind of educational environment, we need to do this important work in a place that is optimal for growth and well-being.

As one of our four areas of effort this year, we aim to focus on building a positive culture and climate by implementing a week long spotlight on:

  • Creating an academic climate
  • Developing community
  • Fostering relationships
  • Establishing a sense of safety
  • Creating an atmosphere of positive learning

This booklet has been designed to help facilitate those first four days (and beyond!) by providing a framework for thinking about school culture as well highlight a few strategies for implementing relationship-building in the classroom and school.

There are many people to thank for developing this initiative – Dr. Mark Coscarella and Dr. Karlin Tichenor were the guiding forces behind this work. They were expertly supported by Betty Underwood, Dr. Jessica Gillard, Nicole Minor, Robyne Muray and Karen Hoekstra who designed the activities and classroom organizational schedules. Big thanks to Ashley Pendergast who so creatively designs all of our materials and thinks deeply about the impact of visual messaging.

Let’s make this school year the best ever, for our students, teachers, school leaders, support staff, and community!  We are, after all, the Lansing School District Family.

- Yvonne Caamal Canul  

PDF DocumentTeachers First Week Booklet