"In just a few days, over 11,000 students will enter our classrooms," said Bruce Mellion, President of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers.
Before those 11,000 students take their seats for the first day of the 2014-2015 school year, Norwalk Public School teachers gathered at Brien McMahon High School for Convocation 2014.
"The school system a couple of years ago was a K-12 system. Now we have initiatives in the works for Pre-K, for after school programs and the first P-TECH academy with IBM in the entire state at Norwalk High School. Our school system in not only on the rebound, I really believe we are heading for great things," said Michael Lyons, Chairman of the Norwalk Board of Education.
During his remarks, Superintendent Dr. Manuel Rivera reflected on his first year in the district and motivated teachers to continue to transform the district for their students. "We need to ensure success for every single one of our children who walk through our door. They come to us some speaking English, some not. Some who have had breakfast, some not. Some who've had the benefit of having different educational opporunities and experiences, some not. It's our responsibility to transform the district and our schools and our classrooms to work for them."
Geoffrey Canada, founder, president and former CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone served at this year's keynote speaker.
"Everyday in our schools and in our classrooms comes examples of kids where nothing has worked for them, people have given up and they have thrown in the towel. The kids believe them and believe that they are no good at math or that they are no good a science. We've allowed these kids to believe this so that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and that is not what great teachers do!"
Canada urged teachers to think outside the box to reach more non-traditional learners.
"This idea that school is a place where you come to suffer; that's not what we want our schools to be. We want school to be a place where kids are excited. We need to use those other opportunities to get kids to work harder. That has worked for kids throughout all of our time as educators in the country."