Ending the School Year

Ending the School Year and Preparing for Fall
Posted on 06/04/2021
We have reached the finish line for the 2020-21 school year. In some ways, it has felt like an endurance run and in other ways, the year has flown by. I appreciate your partnership and working with teachers and staff amid the many challenges this school year. 

Let me begin by answering the biggest question that is on many people’s minds. What will fall look like in our schools? With what we know right now, we anticipate relaxed health and safety procedures including reduced social distancing with face masks becoming optional for all students and staff. Our fall planning team will be reviewing the latest guidance and information and will share more details over the summer.

In preparation for fall, our focus will be on the recovery phase of the pandemic. This includes careful consideration about how we respond and reimagine what teaching and learning will look like moving forward. We have already begun evaluating what worked, what could be improved and what should continue into the next school year. We also recognize that student learning over the past year has been drastically different and some have shared concerns over learning loss. It is important that each of us realize and value the important skills students have gained amid adversity that may have more value than any score on an assignment or grade on a test. 

Our students may also have a fragmented or damaged relationship when it comes to learning and “doing school”. That should not be a surprise as we moved in and out of in-person, hybrid and distance learning models. In a recent virtual meeting with students, several shared anxiety about the next school year and re-learning how school works. We will need to take time to help students heal, to reestablish what a school day looks like and to build relationships that allow us to better meet their needs. The isolation, the lack of social interactions and the disruption in routines will no doubt mean that the recovery will look different for each student. We know that our focus as a district this fall must be on the importance of creating meaningful relationships, social-emotional health and well-being. I know there is a longing to return to “normal” and forget the past year. I am hopeful that the pandemic experience will allow us to reframe our thinking and explore new possibilities. 

No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.  - Dr. James Comer 

With summer upon us, I hope you’ll take some time to recharge and reflect on the year. We could not be more grateful for your partnership and for supporting South Washington County Schools.