As many people have remarked, the last month seems more like six months. So much has happened and we have had to adjust to a radically new way of living and educating our students. Our lives are often full of conflicting experiences as well as the interpretations of those experiences. In some ways we are mourning our new reality and struggles. In other ways, we marvel at the creativity, ingenuity, and can-do attitude of the American people.
As educators, we are laser-focused on the well-being of our students, families, and staff. We have high levels of anxiety about how to fully engage our students and ensure that EVERY student is still connected to our school and the staff that cares so deeply about each one of them. Throughout this remote learning odyssey, we have witnessed great leadership and genuine concern for students. I’m not sure what our opponents were thinking, but I’m not surprised about how much our charter school educators are connected to their students. We choose this work because of the students that we serve. We do this because of those students who we now connect with through a computer screen or phone.
Within our portfolio of schools, we have so much to celebrate. We have seen our schools simply do amazing things for their communities.
- We have asked our schools to develop high quality remote learning plans and they did it.
- We have asked them to determine the needs of their communities and then meet those needs and they are doing it.
- We have asked them to continue to find creative ways to engage students from preschool through high school and they are doing it.
- We have asked them to ensure that their families have access to food and they are doing it.
- We have asked them to be sensitive to the mental health needs of their communities and they are doing it.
Most importantly, we need to remember that school leaders do not have to be asked to do these things. They are embracing this challenge, thinking of innovative ways to educate our students in a different manner, and they are doing this with grace, wit, and sheer determination.
Educators are also on the front line of this pandemic and will continue to learn new ways to navigate the education of our students. While we know there will be learning loss, shifting accountability measures, mental health and trauma issues for students and staff, and the potential for a widening of the achievement gap, rest assured that educators are fully committed to doing the work to mitigate these impacts. I believe in our educators and we have so many incredible examples of the extraordinary work that they are doing.
Our latest Highlights Newsletter showcases so many of the positive things our schools are doing for their students, staff, and communities. We have recently updated our website to showcase pieces of our schools’ remote learning plans. We hope you take a peek, borrow or build off some ideas, and are inspired by the amazing work of our schools.