Archer's RSU #34 Staff Day Keynote, changes perspective for educators for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year
On Tuesday August 26, 2014, Connor Archer, founder of the Courageous Steps Project, gave a keynote to RSU #34 Staff during their opening day. His message was mainly thanking the staff who made a difference in his life, but also encouraging others to think outside the box, and be flexible when they teach. Since the keynote, Archer has gotten emails from RSU #34 staff. Here is one of the many emails sent:
Email from Old Town High School math teacher Eric Smith:
As I begin my 18th year in this incredible world of education, I can honestly say this is the first time, ANYONE spoke on the very first day and brought tears to my eyes!! Your message Connor was spot on – thank YOU!
I know being new last year here at OTHS brought with it some challenges for me, but those pale in comparison I am sure to every new thing in school you experience Connor as you work as hard as anyone I know, to meet the challenges you face as an autistic learner. Through those challenges we found a system that worked for us both and I grew immensely as an educator. I don't believe there was ever a two hour help session in my room, but if there was, it was ME learning.
If you would be so kind Connor, I would love an electronic or hard copy of the words you spoke this morning as I plan to keep at my side through this year and do the best I can to help every single student that comes through my classroom door. This will not be shared, just for me – I want to be sure I know your three concluding remarks and want to meet your challenge by posting one word.
Thank you again Connor and I hope you have a junior year that is nothing short of amazing, just like you! The pleasure was ALL MINE, having come to know you. As my father would have said, you come from great stock – Mike and Jessica, you ARE doing a great job too.
Email sent by Old Town Elementary School teacher, Kerri Kennedy:
Hello Archer Family! I wanted you to know of a 'ripple' Connor started. I was so very moved by his words at our staff keynote. So moved in fact that I used his challenge to begin the year with the kids. I thought about my 'word' (compassionate) and challenged the students to do the same. We then took our first day of photos with our word on our slates. We also asked parents what words they would use to describe their children. We then built a bulletin board to show what we all bring to our community and what happens when we bring us all together. So, thank you Connor for kicking off my year the way you did. The ripple it elicited with the students will be the foundation on which our community will be built. I've attached a photo of our board. Thanks so much! Happy school year! Kerri Kennedy
At Leonard Middle School, Archer's message given earlier that day, was used as a staff activity later at LMS, created by principal Jennifer Cyr. She asked every staff member to think of a word that represents each staff member in the school. Other teachers have also chosen their word
Archer hopes that his message continues to go viral for the 2014-2015 school year, as he hopes to later on in the school year, visit the schools to check-up on their progress.
Courageous Steps Project fundraiser held at Governor's - 8/9/16