April 6, 2020
We all got the news that we anticipated, but, crushed nevertheless. “Our campuses will remain closed for the rest school year.” Even after hearing this days ago, and anticipating it days before that, it is still hard to digest. The optimism we tried so hard to display and that sense of hope we held on to (picturing all moms, dads, children, teachers, with both eyes squeezed shut and both hands with all fingers crossed) came to a screeching halt with those 10 words.
These past three weeks (it’s only been three weeks???) has been a tremendous adjustment for all of us. First and foremost, our kids. Here they were, two-thirds of their way through their first-grade or third-grade or fifth-grade year and then, in a snap, they are isolated from their friends, pulled away from their teachers, their daily routines abandoned, and the world as they knew it, became smaller and quieter.
Honestly, this is not much different for teachers and educators in general. We miss our beautiful Sea Lions; we miss the energy that IS McGaugh; we miss one another passing in the hallways or in the office or the staff lounge. We miss the sound of music on the campus in the early morning hours in the Sea Lion Café, we miss Mr. Ankou smiling at each child who passes his way, we miss the smell of pizza on Fridays and we miss the smiles, the hugs, the laughter and the joy that we get every day from you and your children.
We are all a little more anxious than we used to be; a little more stressed with not knowing when this will over (yes, it will be over one day!) and we are all perhaps a little more weary. I am convinced, however, that we will come out of this stronger; we will be more appreciative of things and places; and maybe even a little more patient with one another.
As we navigate this path of finishing our school year from a “distance” I want you to know how committed this staff is to making sure our Sea Lions have an appropriate amount of instruction, materials and resources to keep them engaged for the remainder of the year. I want to remind you that we are in a much better position than most other districts for many reasons, one of which is that our school year began an average of one month before most other districts which reduces our lost face time with students by one month.
I would like to acknowledge the exceptional job by our teachers of bringing distance learning into your homes every day. And I would also like to remind you that they, too, are likely experiencing similar stress, anxiety, and sadness. This is not a situation that any teacher would ever hope for. They chose a career in education because they love the impact, the influence, the face to face instruction and the opportunity to witness growth in their students on a daily basis. With our new on-line learning and teaching from home, teachers are struggling right now. In addition, nearly three quarters of the McGaugh teaching staff are moms with school-age or younger children at home. They understand your new challenges where a “balancing-act” and constant multi-tasking is our new normal.
I will be communicating with you in the next week or so about questions you likely have such as “Will there be a report card with grades for the 3rd trimester?” or “Can we pick up my child’s personal belongings and completed work?” or “Will we have any type of Promotion celebration for our 5th graders?” or “What about Pageant?” and a million other questions I am sure. The teachers, Ms. Wood, and I are working closely to develop a plan that addresses so many of these things; we really want to make this year as special as we can under the circumstances.
Thank you for your patience; thank you for your support; thank you for what you do every single day for your/our kids.
Stay positive, stay healthy, stay safe…and stay tuned!
Roni Ellis, Principal