Gathered for a Superintendent’s Day Conference, all Johnstown School District employees – from administrators and educators to clerical and custodial staff – were told to “Come Together” in the Performing Arts Center at the high school for mandated training on the afternoon of September 3. This was followed by a joint message from Superintendent Robert DeLilli and Director of Curriculum, Testing & Personnel Trish Kilburn, setting the tone for the new school year.
Their presentation was peppered – or perhaps “Sgt. Peppered” – with Beatles’ references, comparing the Beatles’ “REvolution,” growth and change over the years to that of education in the district; touching on where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going. However, no one could have “Imagined” what was coming next. As the PowerPoint ended and the screen retracted, the stage curtains parted to reveal the band “Hey Jude the Tribute,” billed as “Upstate New York’s First and FabFourMost Tribute to The Beatles!”
This special event replaced the traditional annual keynote speaker that is usually provided through grant funding as part of ongoing Professional Development. The purpose of a keynote address is to motivate staff to “Come Together” and prepare for a successful year with “A Little Help from My (their) Friends.” By all accounts, the inspiring performance by “Hey Jude the Tribute” was a big success. It didn’t take long before people were on their feet with a “Twist and Shout,” dancing in the aisles, enjoying the moment and relieving the stresses built up over a “Hard Day’s Night” and a summer punctuated by frenzied preparations for the coming school year, including the intense labor of classroom moves for Grade Level Grouping and long hours of curriculum development.
Much has changed in the world – and in education – since The Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show fifty years ago in 1964. Some of these changes are easily accepted, and some are more challenging. But in Johnstown, as we say “Hello, Goodbye” to new faces and old ideas, there is no doubt among staff that “We Can Work it Out” as we move forward with the 2014-2015 school year!
Enjoy video from the performance: