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Superintendent's News

Posted: September 4, 2020

Relax, Recharge, and Return with Energy

Supt. Elder's Labor Day message to employees

​​23 days.

That’s how long it’s been since teachers and school staff reported to work for the 2020-2021 school year. Just 23 days ago.

For most students, classes didn’t begin until at least a week later – just about 15 days ago, less than a tenth of the school year with more than 90 percent still to go.  

That’s important to keep in mind when you are feeling flustered, frustrated, fed up – normal enough emotions as we charter new territory. But don’t let disillusionment get the best of you. This strenuous voyage we’re taking along with our students and their families has only just begun.

Pace yourself. And cut yourself some slack.

I, like you, really want to get this right for the sake of our kids. And, with some exceptions -- there are always exceptions -- we are.

Every day I hear moving stories about the bonds that are forming through the re-imagination of education. I heard, for example, about a veteran teacher who, growing noticeably frustrated as she tried to form breakout rooms in Google Meet, got a direct message from one of her middle schoolers: “Try it this way.” The teacher did, and it worked! 

Try it this way, or that way, or another way. That’s become the mantra of this school year. And it’s working! Even better than some thought it could, in large part because we’re not afraid to lean on each other and even on our students from time to time.

We have come a long way since our first days of teleconferencing (which weren’t all that long ago) when we forgot to mute microphones or adjust camera angles or move piles of dirty dishes and laundry from our background.  

And we can’t help but laugh when we think back of some of our early awkward moments online –  including the many pets, young children, postal workers, and even pajamaed loved ones who have unknowingly interrupted virtual meetings and classes.  

We have built up our Google endurance, as have our students, so that the focus is shifting from how to use technology to how to use technology to improve academic outcomes. And we will continue to learn and improve, as will our students, as we navigate through this abnormal school year. 

Thanks to all of you for the tremendous amount of effort, the tremendous amount of work you have demonstrated. Whether you’ve been working for 23 days or all summer, you have earned a break, so make sure you take one this long Labor Day weekend. Relax, recharge, and return with the energy to face whatever adventures lie ahead.