How’s It Going?
I get asked that a lot. It’s a hard question to answer because if I say, “Great,” I’m then asked, “Even with the COVID mitigation strategies at your school?” And if I say, “Teaching through COVID is stressful,” then I’m asked, “But aren’t the teaching staff handling it well?” And if I try to stave off contended feedback by answering more comprehensively, “Teaching through COVID is very stressful, but our teaching staff is energized by our fabulous students, and our COVID mitigation strategies while very thorough and have proven to actually do what they are supposed to do and are mitigating the virus, they are extraordinarily time-consuming…..” I see their eyes gloss over.
The truth is, we hold these three notions at the same time: 1) Educating through COVID-19 is stressful 2) our mitigation strategies are mitigating, and 3) our teaching staff is amazing. Every year, our teaching staff say that the pride they have in our students’ achievements is worth the extra lesson planning, the extra collaboration, the extra hours. This year is no different. Our staff has always had to plan for each student in their class. In the high school that means individual plans for 36 students. In the middle and lower schools that means individual plans for each student in each subject. But in other ways, this is a year like no other. This year teaching staff have to plan for students not in their class, those learning from home. Stressful is an understatement, but our strategies are working, and we know that it is the high quality of our teaching staff that is our secret sauce.
To help teaching staff, we’ve hired additional behavior therapists this year and Ms. Nancy, who is a floater, goes wherever she’s needed most. The school admin increased by one position to support teaching staff. We asked admin staff who are not directly involved with students to work from home. Most importantly, we asked Mr. Louie to take on all things COVID-19 to make sure we were all following best practices in regards to COVID-19 protocols. He works closely with all staff, but especially with Mr. Joe, our janitor, to ensure that every single space we use in the building is cleaned and sanitized several times daily.
In preparation to grow the clinic, we hired another psychotherapist, Ms. Sunni, last year. Because of this, we’ve been able to meet the mental health needs of our students like never before. Our social skills groups were started just in time. We chose group topics with the realization that we are living through an unprecedented time with unprecedented mental health needs; how do you make and sustain friendships virtually as well as in person? Ms. Sunni can help.
We find ourselves prepared to meet the emotional, social, behavioral, environmental, and academic needs of our students even in this peculiar year. We pride ourselves on providing first-class education for our students. As always, if you see an area in which we can improve, please let me know.
Thank you for entrusting your children to our care. We take your trust seriously.