As I reflect on this opportunity and have almost completed my first week of school with my new students. I realize even more the important words that Ruth told us at the All Write Consortium this summer: “Everyone has a story.” As I meet my students and have a chance to talk to them, I am listening differently this year. We have completed several get to know you activities that take time. I realize how important these early conversations are to building community. There was a part of me that wanted to rush those first few days so we could jump in to academics. There was a part that felt like I needed to follow the crowd of teachers who already started their diagnostics in math & reading. But this year I slowed down, I took the time to ask those important questions. I am excited about this school year because I chose to start slowly, and I am remembering “Everyone has a story.” Enjoy your first few weeks of school!