“What will you do on Day 1 that will have students running back on Day 2?” This was the challenge posed to Manheim Township educators on Opening Day by speaker and author Thomas C. Murray. The author of Personal & Authentic: Designing Learning Experiences That Impact a Lifetime, Murray gave the day’s keynote address, thanks to a professional development grant funded by Manheim Township Educational Foundation.

In his writing and speaking, Murray encourages educators to create awe-inspiring experiences grounded in relationships. Technology integration coaches Megan Smith, Jackie Druck, and Brandi Swavely applied for the grant that put Murray’s book in the hands of every Manheim Township teacher, and brought Murray in for the district’s 2022-2023 kick-off day, a project aimed at ensuring teachers of their importance in lives of students, providing teachers with tangible ways to connect, and building a culture of learning.

Throughout the school year, technology integration coaches plan to build on the positive feedback and momentum of this event by keeping text and its ideas at forefront at their weekly newsletter and helping teachers create personal and authentic learning experiences through coaching.