Back to school
With less than a week before the beginning of school, the teachers, administration and support staff of the Washington School District packed into the Washington High School commons for what has become a tradition – the Educators Appreciation Breakfast.
Over 300 members of the district sat at tables and stood in line for a buffet of fruit, eggs, bacon and sausage, and an assortment of rolls. The event also gave returning teachers and administrators a chance to catch up with the goings-on during the summer. New teachers to the district were given a chance to meet the peers they will be working with during the course of the year.
“I really like it,” Jennifer Crumly, a first-year math teacher, said, looking around the new high school. “Their commitment to education is obvious with all the time and money they put into this new building. I was really excited about that.”
Crumly, who just graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, said that she was born at the Washington County Hospital and grew up in Grandview. She appreciated the breakfast, if for no other reason, than it gave her the chance to talk with veteran educators about math and science.
“One of my goals is to make math exciting and make it relevant to kids,” she said. “Math is everywhere and part of everything. I find it so beautiful and interesting, I want to help kids learn to find it beautiful and interesting.”
Washington Schools Superintendent Mike Jorgensen made rounds between the tables saying “hi” to the familiar faces and meeting the new ones. He said the breakfast is a yearly event held by the Washington Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by 26 area businesses.
“It’s a great activity and a great way to kick off the school year,” he said. “Compared to a year ago when we had so many new changes, I think this year is just a lot more refining what we have implemented.”
He said the staff had developed professional learning communities over the summer, which allows the teachers to learn from one another and consolidate efforts.
Kurt Trout is a first-year science teacher to the district, having recently decided to begin an education career after working for over 10 years at the University of Iowa as a genetic researcher.
“Any time you can get a free breakfast is great, but it is also really great to meet everyone,” he said. “There are people here from all over the district that I may not see very often.”
Trout said that he always liked teaching, so he got a master’s degree in education. When the job in Washington became available, he thought it would be a great fit.
“I’m hoping to bring the excitement of science – how science affects us every day,” he said. “I think a lot of people look at science and think it is boring or nerds with lab coats and glasses. Science affects us from the moment we get up until the moment we go to sleep. I think if kids know how important science is, they will get more excited about it.”