Moving Forward, Finishing Strong - 3/3/21

To our teachers and staff, you have been simply amazing! 

It is March 2021, and in three short months our students will be graduating. I remember last August when we started with the delay of school. We made the decision to begin the school year virtually for students, and we went into professional learning for staff to help prepare them for virtual instruction. Students then came back to the buildings for face-to-face instruction in early November, and then we had to go back into virtual learning right before Christmas. We remained there for an extended period of time, and now we are back in the buildings and some employees are starting to receive COVID-19 vaccines. It has been quite a year. 

I am very thankful there are now three vaccines available because this means more of our staff and community will have the opportunity to get vaccinated sooner, and this will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and make our schools safer for staff and students. As you know, the District is in the process of planning with partners like Atrium Health Navicent and the North Central Health District to help support employees who would like to receive the vaccine. To those employees, thank you for your confidence and trust, and for being a part of this process. 

We have almost 65 percent of our students back for face-to-face instruction! They are happy, and they are starting to get excited about spring events and graduation. Seniors are applying for colleges, and juniors are ready to become seniors. We are finishing up some of the sporting activities that we had to skip in the fall, such as middle school football, and continuing to move forward with sporting activities that normally are done in the spring. 

A lot of things have changed this year, but one thing that has not changed is how resilient our teachers and staff have been throughout this endeavor. The COVID-19 experience is one that you will remember for the rest of your life. I’m very sure of that. You will remember wearing face masks, socially distancing, and reading about the numbers in the news. You also will remember coming out of this pandemic stronger than when we went into it. You will come out with more skills, and more appreciation for those in your family, your loved ones, and the people with whom you work.

As we move forward, let’s finish this year strong. Let’s recognize that our students have had a different experience. They have learned to survive, and they have learned new social skills. While the academics may not be where they would normally be at this point in the school year because of lost time from face-to-face instruction, students have learned other things – let’s celebrate that with them. Let’s help them continue to move forward. We’ll do that by continuing to work on a plan for how to help students address learning loss and grow as they move forward. That is what we do.

Thank you for your support during this Mission First, People Always time – we have come through this together. In the meantime, don’t let your guard down. Continue to wear your mask, socially distance, wash your hands frequently, and know this – the end is in sight. Let’s make it to the finish line strong for our students and for ourselves. I appreciate you.

- VIP Continues

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