Updates from the Principal

September 11, 2020

Well, our first week of school is officially completed and our students and staff did an EXCELLENT job working together. Sometimes, you can overthink things, talk about it for so long, that you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of something. Just diving in and executing the plan takes the anxiety away and allows us to remember why we are here in the first place.....our students. They are our WHY. They are what matter.
Thank you to our families and community for your support, your cheerleading on the sidelines and your unwavering faith in us as a school. Seeing your smiles (behind masks!) in the rider dismissal line or reading your encouraging emails has been incredibly sustaining as we climbed this mountain to get our year underway. 

What have we learned so far?

For one, children are far more resilient and flexible than adults. ;) They tackled the entire masking situation, the social distancing requirements and the safety concerns like true champions. You could tell that they just wanted to be back within these four walls, striving for a sense of normalcy and routine. They were willing to do whatever it took to come back. Their commitment to being in school and learning the "new" rules is to be commended and recognized. I am so proud of each one of them. 

Secondly, our staff is beyond the rock star team that I thought they were.....if you could have peeled back the curtain and watched all that was going on behind the scenes, you would have been exhausted, enthralled and impressed by their work and dedication to this reopening process. The rules were changing by the day, sometimes by the minute, and they just kept pushing forward. Even when they were tired. Even when they were worried. Even when they were scared of the unknown ahead of us. There are staff members at SJES working with serious illnesses, managing their work and giving their all, in spite of their personal struggles. To all of them, I say, "Thank you. I am humbled by your work."

Thirdly, virtual learning and instructing is no joke. Imagine being told that you are a virtual teacher one day, having to learn the three platforms, set up a virtual classroom and technology within a week, reach out to all your families (including virtual students assigned to you from another school entirely!), make sure that they have adequate devices and teach them from a distance on how to access Google Classroom, Dojo and TEAMS. While YOU are learning the nuances of the programs at the same time. THAT'S what our virtual teachers are doing.....sure, there have been glitches, there have been tech issues, there have been stops and starts along the way. Teachers, by nature, are hard on themselves. They want things to work perfectly; they want to hit the ground running and they want you to approve of the job that they're doing.  When there's a problem, even if it has nothing to do with THEM, they take on the brunt of the responsibility and they feel terribly that it wasn't executed the way that they wanted. Do I believe that it's going to go well? YES. Will it take a little bit, to get into the rhythm of virtual learning? Of course. Patience, flexibility and kindness are in order for everyone involved in this process. 

Where do we go from here?

We will have one more week of a "staggered" opening, with days 1, 2, 3, and 4 happening again (from Sept 14 - Sept 17th). On Friday, September 18th, the entire face to face student body will come to school. THAT is going to be our ultimate test, to see it all in action, in one day. Fingers crossed, it all falls into place. It won't be for lack of planning and effort, I assure you.

Our virtual learners will begin classwork next week, with attendance determined by completion of the work. If virtual learners have ANY questions, PLEASE contact your child's teacher for information and support. 

Have a wonderful weekend. Hug your family tight and stay safe, everyone. On this special day, September 11th, we honor the heroes of that fateful day in 2001 by cherishing our families, our freedoms and our beautiful community. 

#WeGotThis
#RoadrunnerPride
#BackToSchool
Take care,
Ms. Mahoney

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