As we continue to navigate this difficult period, I want to pause to say thank you. On top of everything else, parents have now been asked to assume the role of instructor. I am very sensitive to the burden this can add on top of the now dynamic pressures of work and family wellness. I cannot express enough our appreciation to the parents who have taken on this challenge. Similarly I want to commend the effort of our faculty for developing resources and learning options to fill the void created by the loss of the classroom experience.
I know all has not been smooth nor easy. A big part of public education is the social environment. Interactions fuel the learning process. Moreover, even the most mathematical parent can find teaching elementary math very frustrating. I assure you that teachers are equally as challenged to find learning options with which students will be successful. In the classroom, teachers have a sense for knowing how to help guide students through challenging material. In a classroom setting, a teacher can read and react in real time to modify an approach or expectation in order to help get a student to where they need to be. Through distance learning, this option is not quite that simple.
We have not allowed grades to be taken during the two week period prior to spring break. General guidelines and expectations were quickly put in place. Teachers were afforded a good bit of flexibility during this time. I think we have great teachers and many (to their credit) found some dynamic ways to share learning with their students. Candidly, some of our efforts have not been fruitful, but like the best lessons, we have learned from our mistakes. One thing that we instituted from the onset was to make teachers accessible during a set period of time each day. It has been a good lifeline for parents. I have seen so many good examples of how this helped and allowed teachers to know how to improve the process. Our plans are to look at ways of strengthening this element going forward.
As we endeavor on, we hope that everyone gets to take a “modified spring break” next week. Per the governor’s order, school closures will continue until April 24th. Our distance learning opportunities will begin again on April 13th. Teachers and staff will be working to make some adjustments to our distance learning of which we will be making you aware. Our intent is to make a more uniform effort across grade levels, provide you with a suggested schedule, gather work efforts from all students, and provide you with a multi-tiered support that allows contact with our staff.
I cannot tell you that things will resume April 27. Updates will be forthcoming for the remaining weeks of this school year. I can tell you that it is critical that we support each other and our community by following the CDC guidance and maintain the social distancing effort.
The health concerns have warranted the steps we are taking. I hope that we can avoid the severe impact that has been experienced in other areas. Please remain vigilant. This national crisis has demanded sacrifices of all of us Already, it has taken part of our seniors’ final year. But if we can minimize the burden on our front line health care workers, the lives saved will make the sacrifice worth it.
Finally, while I’ve had many emails about this, we still do not know how or when this year will finish. All the missed events may not be able to be made up but our seniors will receive their duly deserved graduation recognitions as the class of 2020.