Last night I felt compelled to send our 2000+ employees a message of support and encouragement. They are great people who care a lot and our off-site instruction was to begin today. This is the message they received around 8pm.
No fooling. Tomorrow is April 1 and we are all experiencing some things that we wish were merely an April Fools Day prank. But this is real.
At the risk of missing some people, I want to give some shout outs. When we were first told to close for 2 weeks, we didn’t know what to expect. Then it became clear that we better start planning to not be back in school as we know it on March 30. So our instruction department, under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Diane Workman and Director Susan Johnson, got to work. Teams led by content supervisors were formed with content specialists and teachers who volunteered to help. They planned the next 2 weeks for you. Our instructional tech specialists stepped up to help us make a plan to deliver more instruction in a digital format. Thank goodness we are just a few months away from our Future Ready dream of 1:1 technology led by Jackie Jacobs. Principals and assistant principals started gathering individual family information to see who needed computers and who needed assistance in connecting. The IT department stepped up and started helping us get computers from schools and distribute them to students and help families get connected.
That led us to the last 2 days of focused training on Schoology and what we can do with online learning.
And lets not forget the Calvert County Child Nutrition staff who moved quickly to start feeding children as best they could within the guidelines of state and federal regulations. Daily the rules were changing and daily they worked to add more opportunities for children to access food. We went, in just 10 days, from 250 or so children served on day one to more than 850 children served today. We also partnered with the folks at End Hunger , United Way and Calvert County Sheriff’s office to provide needed supplemental food to children not able to come to the Grab and Go sites – serving as many as 800 additional children in the last couple of days.
Our administrators, secretaries and building service workers and maintenance staff continued to work to take care of business all while worried about their exposure and exposure to their families.
April 1, 2020 brings us the next phase. It’s kind of exciting. We will begin to teach again. Teaching is about connecting more than it is about learning. Please remember that. At this time we want to know more about how they’re doing than what they know. Tomorrow we return to connecting teachers and students so that they know that we are here. They know that we care. They know that we want them to grow. It won’t be the same as school. We will be making adjustments as we go. Many children don’t have access and we will get them experiences in paper. We need to consider every child through our Equity Lens and ask what more they might need to survive this special time. Special teachers, IAs, counselors and specialists will make personal contacts.
On behalf of the Calvert County Board of Education I want to thank everyone for what you have done and what you are about to do. Let’s have some fun with this. Let’s use this time to make Calvert County stronger than any. It is not about money or resources. It is about heart. And I know you have what it takes. Take time to breathe. Take time to laugh as you share your experiences. I know for me, I have learned so much more about using technology to connect with staff in the last few weeks. Just think, you will be so ready for 2020 -21 school year after this experience.
Have fun, be creative and stay safe.
I love you all.