During the week of August 21, Park formally welcomed 21 new faculty and staff members to the Park community for the 2023-2024 school year. The 2023 cohort includes faculty and staff members who stepped into new roles in the later half of the last school year or over the course of the summer, as well as new faculty whose career at Park began on Monday, August 21. They come from as near as Jamaica Plain and as far as Algeria.
What does it take to really get to know the values, the spirit, and the expectations of a community so that you feel comfortable and able to contribute fully and constructively? This is what we had in mind when we designed a four day experience that would help our newest members feel connected to the community and program, while also preparing them well for their new roles at Park.
Orientation has helped me to feel more excited than nervous! Every activity was so, so beneficial.
Beginnings were exciting! Mornings became known for receiving Park swag and sweet treats! Our incredible dining staff started us well each day with a fantastic breakfast, which allowed for informal connections to any others who were working here over the summer. There was a clear rhythm to each day that included the bookends of opening and closing circles, which focused on creating cohort connections. We learned unique facts about each other and we all now have a wonderful restaurant list for the area! If you love tapas, ask a new employee about our list! The time in between circles was spent meeting members of many departments in the community, learning Park processes, engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training, touring the campus, receiving devices and technology training, locating and learning about essential resources. They even engaged in hands-on learning to create interest-based representations of the Park Portrait and Park’s mission. We heard acrostic poetry, were impressed with a visual illustration, cheered for six-word summaries, marveled at synectics analogies, and looked in with awe at a museum exhibit.
Each day, there was an opportunity to answer the essential questions, “where do I go…” and “who do I ask”. We explored a “typical” Park day, highlighting the various roles, routines, and responsibilities that members of the community fill every day, and the cohort began to imagine themselves in the Park story.
The DEI sessions were designed to build an understanding of the ways in which Park’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion weaves through every aspect of school life – from student programs to faculty, staff, and family education and support to leadership, philanthropic goals, and priority partnerships. Each participant was invited to engage in conversation and reflection, beginning with the recognition that the work toward equity, inclusion, and belonging begins with understanding one’s self, and then outward as we seek to understand and connect with others.
Thank you so much for creating such a thoughtful and supportive experience for all of us to kick off our time with Park.
Lunch was a particular treat, not only because our dining staff makes such incredible food, but also because of the warm reception they received from each Park employee they met along the way. We are so grateful to all in the building who chose to join us for lunch and be part of the warm Park welcome.
We sincerely hope that by the time the new employee cohort were joined for opening meetings by returning faculty and staff, they not only felt excited to see one another again, but felt energized about new colleagues and connections to come. We are confident that they could all find the dining room! The start of every school year brings about hopes and possibilities for new beginnings and we are grateful to each member of the cohort for choosing to be new at Park. We are excited to be inspired by their new perspectives and ideas. Welcome!