Not a Lost Year - August 2021
What if we look at things a little differently?
What if, instead of talking about “learning loss” as measured by standardized tests, we instead talk about all the learning our students did on things that are NOT measured by these tests?
What if, instead of focusing on the difficult struggle that we have gone through (and still are going through), we focus on the resiliency and determination that was uncovered through this adversity?
What if, instead of being divided over the degrees of mitigation strategies used, we celebrate how we came together to discuss and implement the best ways to keep our children, staff, and community safe and celebrate the fact that we had the vast majority of our students in-school all year in 2020-21?
What if 2020-21 was not a “Lost Year”, but was instead was a “Found Year”?
We cannot dismiss the challenges we faced nor the opportunities we missed. Moreover, many people have suffered greatly during this pandemic. Our hearts break for them and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. But, we are here now and we have the opportunity to move ahead stronger, more unified, and smarter than ever before.
In spite of all that we have faced in the last 17 months, our school community rose to every challenge and worked tirelessly to meet every need we could. From our Transportation and Food Service personnel that assured our students would continue to be fed and nourished even when they could not come to school, to our Custodial and Maintenance staff that made sure our facilities were clean and safe for students and staff, to our Technology Department that did everything they could to make sure students had devices and internet access that worked - allowing our students to stay connected to the school through remote learning, to our community partners that stepped up to find students and get them connected to school - providing after-school care and helping our families in need; our wonderful little community worked TOGETHER to keep us TOGETHER.
And, of course, we must recognize the extraordinary work that our teachers and administrators did this last school year to assure that our students had the best education we could provide. Many of them finished their full workday with students in school, only to log in to provide learning support for dozens of their students who could not be in school. Our staff worked tirelessly to learn new skills, they put their hearts and souls into their vocation and cared for our students in ways none of us would have ever imagined before this pandemic. They worked harder than ever in order to keep our school community TOGETHER.
What we have FOUND in this past year is our strength - and our strength is in our togetherness.
As we move forward into the 2021-22 school year, we all approach the still-simmering pandemic with trepidation and nescience. As expected, we worry about the unknown and have concerns about what lies ahead. However, we have FOUND that we have what it takes to both survive AND thrive! We have seen the passion, concern, and determination that our school community has. We have learned so much about what works well - and what doesn’t work so well - in the immediate challenges we face.
I am so proud to be a Panther!
Steeped in Panther Pide!
Amazed by our teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, support staff, and community partners!
Confident that we will be stronger and more successful than ever because we all Work Together to Keep Us Together!
We must stay together and move forward. We must continue to trust one another - knowing confidently that we are all doing our very best and have only the best interests of our community at heart. We must continue to learn, grow, and adapt while staying true to our values and beliefs.
Our Board of Education has had its “finger on the pulse” throughout this entire endeavor. They have stretched every dollar, held our leaders to account, and made certain that we were using the best information and data available to make the best decisions possible. They have been committed to assuring that we live out our mission and vision.
So, we enter this new year neither afraid nor timid! We will start this year with an eye on our current situation and the other fixed squarely on our future. Through our strategic plan, our district has a forward-thinking, innovative, and collaborative vision of a school district that honors the past, plans and executes in the present, and builds a future brighter than ever. Doing this during a pandemic further proves the passion and the commitment we have to our students, our team, and our community.
We appreciate all of the support and the cooperation that the Watervliet Community has given us - not only this past year but in all years. We invite you to stay close to our school - the anchor of our community. Ask questions and stay engaged. Be our partner as we prevail over this current circumstance and as we build for the future.
Working Together to Keep Us Together is more than a tagline. It is who we are and the means by which we thrive. As long as we keep true to this tenant, Panther Pride will forever prevail.
Superintendent of Schools