NEW BEDFORD ‚— On the afternoon of Friday, May 20, about 35 educators from Holy Family-Holy Name and St. James-St. John schools came together at the St. Julie Billiart parish hall for team building and prayer. This combined team of educators represents the faculty and staff of the newly-created St. Teresa of Calcutta School in New Bedford which is slated to open for 2022-23 school year. The goal of the event was to begin the process of assimilating two distinct cultures into one unified school environment.
Dr. Michael O’Connor from Boston College’s Roche Center for Catholic Education facilitated the session. Immediately after arriving and choosing a St. Teresa of Calcutta School T-shirt and lunch, each member went to their pre-assigned seat, which intentionally mixed the groups. The conversation over lunch focused on why they chose Catholic education as their vocation. They also described their path of becoming a Catholic school educator as well as what or who has helped reveal this vocation to them.
In addition to an extensive appreciative inquiry exercise followed by a small group activity designed to share what each person brings to the new team, the day culminated with their placing a symbol of a personal strength that they bring to the new school community on a cross positioned in the school’s main entrance.
Elise Rego, the grade four teacher at St. Teresa of Calcutta School, praised the opportunity to build relationships with all team members. “While it is exciting to be a part of a new school, I feel that I will be most successful if we are able to bond as a team,” she said. “Educators rely on each other daily, and this event was a great opportunity for me to get to know teachers and staff with whom I will be working in the fall. We serve our students and families best when we are one cohesive team.”
“As part of the office staff, we communicate with the entire faculty and in many cases, are the front line for families,” says Linda Boswell, currently the admissions director for Holy Family Holy Name School. “I feel that the time for team building is critical to ensuring that our students and families have the best educational experience possible.”
Daniel S. Roy, diocesan Superintendent of Schools, added, “One of the goals of this activity was to adopt a framework to guide how the school leaders and faculty view the new school community. We want to take the best from each of the elementary schools and foster a new and authentic school culture. Additional team building activities are planned to keep the momentum going.”
For more information about St. Teresa of Calcutta School, please contact Cristina Viveiros-Serra, principal, at firstname.lastname@example.org.