4/17 Weekly Superintendent Update

4/17 Weekly Superintendent Update
Posted on 04/17/2020
Dear Families:

I know that the past few weeks have been a mix of hurried changes and the slower pace of life in closure.  As a working parent, I am feeling the new pressures of balancing work with my children's schooling needs (and the attitudes of two teens who want to see their pals).  Like you, I am grieving some losses--my son, a junior, is not visiting the colleges we had hoped, thus no road trip with my son, and worries over his prom, track season, etc.  My daughter is flooding me with Tik-Tok dances I should "know by now," and I am not sure I can listen to one more moment of her favorite playlist.  But that's today.  I wrote to a mom yesterday that we all need to be giving the kids, and ourselves a bit of grace and forgiveness.  The temptation is to blame ourselves for not being able to do it all well, to think we are failing as parents, spouses or at work.  I offer you this quote from a book I hadn't visited in years and one of our NHS staffers used this quote and the memory of it and its power flooded back.  

“I have to tell you this: this whole thing is not about heroism. It’s about decency. It may seem a ridiculous idea, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.”

— Albert Camus, The Plague

It's true--we can try to be our own heroes, but the truth is we have to pace ourselves and maintain decency towards others and to ourselves.  It's not just self-care, it's understanding that there is no way to be perfect at all of it.   We understand as school people that you are doing your best; we hope you know that we, as educators, are also doing our best as we juggle all that you are juggling.  Decent behavior toward ourselves and others is the key to getting through all of this.  Decency with its numerous meanings is that we are contending with as a community.  Striking the balance between each of these decencies: behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability: she had the decency to come and confess.
  • (decencies) the requirements of accepted or respectable behavior: an appeal to common decencies.
  • (decencies) things required for a reasonable standard of life: I can't afford any of the decencies of life

 As school leaders we are committed to remaining in communication and in relationship with you and in sharing the balance and trade-offs of each decision we make and how those impacts affect our community constituents.  The next few months will bring us decisions in services, budgeting and core values and we will be weighing the various ways we can keep our community and services as intact as possible.  Decency is a good common standard for operating.  

As the governor ponders a longer closure, many of you are writing to ask about how we will open in the fall and if we will still be closed, etc.  I do not have any of that information officially from any source.  However, the team and I are planning various phased plans for different closure lengths and in this email ask you to give us feedback on your current learning experiences so we can reflect should the closure extend through the end of the year.  We will collaborate with our staff and unions to give our students and you the very best experiences we can.  We are in the process of creating curriculum maps and plans to address areas in subsequent years; we are making draft summer plans and trying to carry on our normal planning so we can bring you answers in the coming weeks.  We will be prepared and we will communicate with you often.  I will be meeting with SEPAC today to gain their perspectives and will be offering parent chats in the coming weeks.  I hope you can make those so we can connect, talk and explore different ideas together.  The school committee and I remain committed to supporting our community academically, and in terms of our collective social-emotional/mental health needs.  Please see some important mental health resources below to support you through this time.

Thinking of you,

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