|Kicking Off The 2020-21 School Year
Parents, Guardians & Staff,
Since I became a superintendent 14 years ago, I have had a yearly tradition of driving to every campus and walking through the halls and classrooms, greeting students and talking with the principals. This is always one of my favorite times of the year… and it is a wonderful way to kick off the school year and get in a positive frame of mind.
This year we may have lost that physical presence; although, I am glad to report, I figured out a way to continue the tradition. This morning I was able to pop into classes virtually at some of our campuses - including ATS. While I only spent a moment or two so as not to disrupt too much, I could still see the joy and excitement the first day brings with teachers and kids.
Yes, even as we are teaching and learning remotely, the connections are still there. As my go-to Mr. Rogers has taught us many lessons, one, in particular, resonates: learning can occur from many distances.
Of course, few – if any - would argue remote learning is ideal or what we want long-term. Hopefully, gradually, we can safely and sustainably move into in-person learning as soon as possible, particularly for our most vulnerable students with significant learning needs.
Just like in the spring with the Westlake High School graduation, we held a virtual Convocation for all of our staff last week. Convocation is an annual celebration where we bring all campuses and departments together and hold a pep rally type of event to kick off the school year. Like graduation, we knew we would not be able to gather everyone due to city and county orders, and we knew we would not have students to practice and perform in-person. But we knew a celebration was needed. Sometimes, it is the semblance of normalcy that can provide excitement and happiness.
So, we decided on a “best of” and picked some of our favorite performances from the past. This was not easy, as every year, our choral, dance and musical performances are impressive. Some performances leave staff smiling with a sense of joy, while others are more poignant and leave staff emotionally touched.
With this year’s “best of” format, the sentiment did not disappoint, as I have received multiple emails from staff who say they were touched, inspired and impressed with the amazing work of our students and staff over the years. Below is a performance from 2013.
We also included a video from my first year in Eanes ISD where students talked about what they have learned and what advice they have for other students. After I saw this video, I knew I was in the right place, the right community at the right time and I still feel that way today. I hope this inspiration from past students carries over to our current students and our community.
That magic of learning will occur this school year. It just may look a little different in the beginning.
Since March, we have been anticipating the opening of the 2020-21 school year and preparing so Eanes ISD would be as prepared as possible.
We are ready.
Having taught in six school districts over the course of my career, none have had a community as strong as Eanes ISD, including parents, teachers, staff and administrators. We are a strong community. We are up for this challenge and we are going to have a great school year.
This is the sentiment with which I ended Convocation, and I share with you all.
Have a great rest of your week, and a wonderful start to school,