Teachers First Day

By: Todd Martin
teachers embracing at an anniversary celebrationteachers posing for a picture at chick-fil-a restaurant during a scavenger huntWith a scavenger hunt, motivational speakers, interactive games and more, about 6,540 Killeen ISD employees took in an active first day back Thursday to begin preparation for a new school year that starts Aug. 27.
At the Killeen ISD Career Center, faculty members barely walked in the door before leaders sent them out on a scavenger hunt designed to build camaraderie and begin a discussion of core values.
Brookhaven Elementary School staff members also barely saw the inside of their school before making their way to the Killeen Civic and Conference Center for a group photo and a 25-year back-to-school anniversary.
Other campus teaching staff members started the two-week period of professional development at Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat and other sites to stretch their abilities to work as a team.
Career Center staff members formed teams and left the high school campus on Stagecoach Road in vehicles to seek out a wide combination of specific sites and to find former students and business and school partners.
One team satisfied multiple squares on their bingo card at Ellison High School. They posed for a selfie with Assistant Principal Logan Chaney to express appreciation for the partnership between schools. They flexed their muscles to show “we are stronger as a team.”
With help from band directors and students, who have been rehearsing for weeks now, they also tracked down Andrea Cruz, a 2017 Ellison graduate now working for World of Music as a flute instructor and helping with current band members.
At least two teams made their way to Chick-Fil-A and met two employees who just graduated from KISD high schools and took classes at the Career Center and plan to continue their education.
They also learned from restaurant managers how they teach the company’s core values to their employees.
Career Center Principal Russell Porterfield said the day of roaming through the community – to schools, businesses, Fort Hood, chambers of commerce and other sites – helped to build team unity, demonstrate relationships outside the school walls and emphasize core values.
The Career Center, which draws enrollment from all the district’s comprehensive high schools, provides numerous career-focused programs.
Employers, Porterfield said, consistently emphasize the importance of “soft skills” in the workplace to help young workers with being responsible and working in collaboration.
In addition to the specific learning, the principal said it’s always good to welcome faculty back to school. “It’s exciting,” he said. “This is a great team. They truly care about students and they are excited.”
The Brookhaven Elementary School staff also experienced a multi-faceted start to the new school year. A celebration lunch served to motivate educators and mark a special anniversary. The school first opened in 1993 on Hilliard Avenue in Killeen.
Principal Iris Felder said along with its Silver Anniversary, the school would be working to shine like a diamond this year. Staff members wore shirts with diamonds and the initials I.C.E. to stand for “inspire, connect, engage.”
“Every child is a diamond in the rough,” Felder said. “It’s our job to find what’s beneath the surface.” The principal explained that it’s not just the children, but school staff members, parents and community partners who shine for students.
Danny Goodrum, Brookhaven PE teacher, said he is still enthusiastic entering his 22nd year teaching at Brookhaven.
“We’ve had an incredible mix of administrative staff over the years always focused on student achievement and caring about students,” he said. “The focus on I.C.E. is exciting. When you inspire students to learn, they will engage. They are diamonds and we need to excavate, clean them up and bring out their brightness.”