HARRISON, N.Y. – Numerous teachers and administrators of the Harrison Central School District were honored Tuesday night for receiving tenure in a ceremony marked by high praise and funny anecdotes from their superiors.
"We have a very vigorous system – as a matter of fact, for a long time, some teachers were afraid to come to Harrison because the story was it's very difficult to achieve tenure," superintendent Louis Wool said. "When you achieve tenure here, it's quite an accomplishment. These people all have a very impressive and unique body of work just after three years."
To earn tenure, the 17 teachers and two administrators from each of Harrison's six schools had to adhere to the district's core values of equity, access, rigor and adaptability. They also had to pass many observations, conferences and receive the recommendation of a panel consisting of their principal and colleagues.
"We lock ourselves in rooms for hours and hours, and we talk about everything that you do," he said. "From the way that you greet children, the way that you collaborate with colleagues, the way you engage in professional development, and the way you put that professional development into practice."
Tuesday's event was "a celebration of the system, its hiring practices, their good work, and the connection that we bring for kids to new teachers and tenured teachers," he said.
The principals also regaled the crowd with funny anecdotes about the newly tenured teachers — from one teacher's poor parking skills to another's "long-awaited" engagement.
Also, all first year teachers in the school district attended the event.
"We want to make a connection," said Wool. "Let them see what it takes to accomplish this standard – it's a pretty high standard. We've been recognized by the New York State School Board's Association as having an exemplar teacher evaluation system."
After listening to the Creed song "With Arms Wide Open" and talking to his daughter about tenure, school board president Dennis DiLorenzo praised the profession of teaching.
"What makes what you do noble is that you do it in the face of adversity," said DiLorenzo. "You do it in the face of controversy and you do it with arms wide open. I appreciate everything that you do and tonight we are here to celebrate that commitment, that faith that you have in the act of imparting knowledge."