"I don’t want to be defined by the challenges,
but how we overcame them."
June 10, 2021 -- I heard the above statement from Ruby Payne a number of years ago, and it always stuck with me. Considering the year and a half we just went through, this concept seems pretty appropriate. As we all worked together to figure it out, parents became part-time teachers, teachers became part time nurses, nurses became part time administrators, custodians became front line defenders, and administrators . . . well, there was A LOT to administer. At least collectively, this has been the hardest year of our careers, the hardest year to be a parent of school-age children, and frankly, the hardest year for us personally, as we sought to survive and make it through.
And yet, despite all this, it’s how our community responded that I’ll remember the most. We were all asked to give more than we even thought we had, all for the benefit of our students and their learning. I want to thank our parents for their partnership, for their support and understanding, and for all the appreciation you’ve given us through this unprecedented time. Thank you to the staff and administration for their unbelievable service to the community of District 64, and for doing whatever it took to make sure we were safe and that the learning continued. Thank you to the School Board for their sound guidance, and thank you to everyone who worked positively to make the best out of a global pandemic.
I had the pleasure of attending both of our 8th grade promotion ceremonies this week, and it couldn’t have been a better way to end the year. I was moved particularly by the student speeches. I listened to them summarize the challenges they’ve been through, and yet it was how positive they were about how much everyone helped them this year and how positively they view the future that moved me. They know they’ll never forget this time in their lives, and yet they still focused on the lessons they’ve learned, how prepared they are for the next step in their schooling, and how happy they are to get back to a much more normal year in high school.
As for where we’re ending, our metrics are the best they’ve been all school year, cases have significantly dropped, and it appears next year will be much easier. School districts are still waiting for what the guidance will be for 2021 – 2022. At this time, we expect it will come out towards the end of June, and after we have some time to interpret it and make the necessary plans, we will contact you in July with updates. Please know that we will be full-time, five days a week next year. It sounds as if the only time students would go remote is if they need to quarantine, and who we have to quarantine and for how long will be reduced.
I wish for everyone to have a relaxing summer, to get away when you can and feel safe to do so, and for all of us to feel much more freedom than we’ve experienced in a while. Our staff is desperately in need of a well-deserved break, and yet we will come back next year recharged and ready to meet the challenges before us. As always, if you have any questions throughout the summer, please feel free to contact me at any time.
Finally, I encourage you to find time for yourself this summer, to thank a neighbor or someone you’ve depended on during the pandemic, to catch up with missed friends and family members, and to do all the normal things to which you’ll happily return.
Please take care of yourself and each other,
Dr. Eric Olson