Rockaway Township Schools...Opening minds, opening worlds so that every child's potential becomes a reality and challenges become opportunities for personal success!
To nurture a supportive culture that embraces individual diversity and infuses cutting edge technology that will ensure academic, social and emotional success in a global society.
Greetings from the Superintendent of Schools
At our first day back for staff, I have the distinct honor to welcome back and speak with all of our district staff. On this occasion, I took the opportunity to speak about something I had read in preparation for my remarks that morning.
I had read of the work of German educator, Friedrich Froebel, who coined the term Kindergarten. His choice of the word “kindergarten” is from the German meaning children-garden or literally garden of children. Friedrich Froebel coined the term in reference to his method of developing intelligence in children. It is said that Froebel meant to symbolize nature and a plan of treatment for how to educate and develop learning in young people.
Horace Mann and Elizabeth Peabody in 1863 wrote about Froebel and his work. They wrote, “How does a gardener treat his plants?” They went on to say that “He studies their individual natures and puts them into such circumstances of soil and atmosphere as enable them to grow, flower and bring forth fruit….also to renew their manifestation year after year.”
This description of gardening and learning has fascinated me for quite a long time. I do not consider myself a farmer by any stretch of the imagination, however the work of farmers and gardeners parallels our work as educators and parents in many unique and astounding ways. As Mann and Peabody described how a gardener treats plants, it is incumbent on us as educators to “study their [our students] individual natures and put them into such circumstances…as enable them to grow.”
This is work that requires dedication, patience, care, and constant reflection of the circumstances in order to help our students grow and mature. And in order to for us to be at our best, so that our students can be at their best, we as educators must commit ourselves to constant learning.
This year I introduced a mission or theme to our staff of Student Learning Driven by Professional Learning. I share this with you because the true mark of a professional in any field includes ongoing and growth in their chosen field. And why is that such a vital part of a professional’s practice? It is a vital part of their practice because of the intended outcome for that professional. You can easily think of the outcomes in many professions which are service to a patient, customer or field of study. In our case, we have the most precious and important commodity there is in any chosen field of study…..your children.
With all of our routines, yearly traditions, seasons and holidays that will be upon us this year, we as professional educators are committed to professional learning of our craft for the sole purpose of your children’s learning and development.
I wish you and your family a healthy, happy and successful school experience.
Dr. Greg McGann