A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week marks the next to last week of our 4th Quarter, in a school year which certainly has been eventful. Throughout this year, our district has continued finding innovative ways to meet the needs of a diverse group of students, staff, families, and community members. Some of our work, which occurred during the peak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, involved meeting basic needs such as meals, technology devices, and internet access. Other types of our work has involved providing access to rigorous academic content as well as social-emotional and mental health supports. No matter how we classify the different elements of our work, our committed staff members have found unique ways to deliver content and caring throughout a challenging school year.
As we reflect on a momentous year, it is important to recognize the brilliance and resilience of all our students, especially the Class of 2021. This special class has persevered through 18 months of uncertainty and anxiety as the stress of a global health pandemic was augmented by a resurgence of an ongoing pandemic of injustice and intolerance. It is my firm belief – this graduating class has learned valuable lessons which place them in an advantageous position to lead national and international efforts to reform and transform policies and practices which impact the human condition. Understanding their perspectives and experiences could also greatly assist our efforts to accelerate learning for all students and eliminate disparities.
As we celebrate our current students and this year’s graduating class, I would also like to express our sincere acknowledgement of the Class of 2020. We look forward to continuing our outreach and recognition efforts for this group of scholars who demonstrated extreme fortitude in the midst of the trauma and disappointment associated with the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During my discussions with students and staff on school visits throughout the district, as well as my conversations with families and community members in other venues, I continue to be enlightened by their insights and informed by their viewpoints. As we plan for opening schools this coming fall, a great proportion of our community is looking forward to our return to full-time in-person learning, while a portion has expressed an appetite for virtual programming. Therefore, our planning, which must prepare for accommodating the needs of our entire community, will utilize our core values of creativity and focus to guide our work. While we will continue to be informed by the science, our thinking will also be shaped by our current realities as well as our hopes for a better and more inclusive future. As such, we look forward to refining our communication plan with our medical/public health advisory panel regarding the summer and fall reopening expectations.
Thanks for your continued support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress next week.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.