Dear Thomas Jefferson School Families,
This will be my final newsletter of the school year--and what a ride it was! We began together with our ‘traditional’ opening in September and on the usual path that our school year always seems to take-the normal challenges, successes, celebrations and learning experiences. Only to find a speed bump in late February/early March that we had never seen before. And then, this roller coaster took us on a wild journey through the rest of the school year. As educators, we were forced to refocus and adjust all of our familiar methods of instruction and change our mindset about how to support our students the best that we possibly could. We had always considered social and emotional learning and mental well-being as
top priority of our students, but at the drop of a hat they were
top priority in supporting our students. To help with this, we were forced to change our instructional methods, adjust our grading procedures and work harder to connect with our students and families more than ever before.
Through this, we ALL experienced challenges in our personal lives in so many different forms, all the while trying to balance health, personal issues and work with our in home schooling. I can tell you personally, this was a challenge even in my home as my wife, who is also an educator, and I worked hard to ‘home-school’ our 9 year old twins. We even had moments when we said ‘OK it’s break time!’ after periods of extreme frustration! You may have gone through many of those moments, too!
While we still don’t know what September will look like and we have grown accustomed to literally just taking things ‘day by day’, they say that you should look for a silver lining in everything. I truly believe that the silver lining of this dark cloud is that we have all come closer together, as a community, than we have ever been before. These challenging times have urged many of us to demonstrate more support, understanding, compassion and flexibility. I know that these times have forced me to grow as a person, as well. In these times of uncertainty and stress, we have come together as a true community. I will always truly believe that the connection between home and school is vital in the success of our children. And now more than ever, it truly shows.
Below, I am sharing with you photographs of some of our 8th graders, as Mrs. Alpaugh and I personally delivered their graduation lawn signs and caps and gowns to them at the beginning of June. It was not only a great day for our students and families, but seeing their faces and feeling their joy was truly priceless for me, too. It was easily one of the most memorable days in my career as an educator.
Thank you all for your patience, flexibility, graciousness, kind words, support and most of all, your partnership. Please stay safe. I wish you all good health and a great summer,