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The legacy of a remarkable school year

There are many words that can be used to describe this past year. But to me, the word remarkable tops my list. It has been a year like no other in our history and one that will never be forgotten. Nor should it be. 

As difficult as this past year has been, and as much as we might long to return to “normal,” I can’t help but hope we never fully go back to where we were before.

As a school district, we’ve been pushed beyond our comfort zone and forced to adapt and change on a dime. Many of the systems and structures we’ve always known were wiped away. We had just one focus: Support our kids. And we’ve done it remarkably well. 

What we’ve been able to accomplish this year is nothing short of extraordinary. Teachers know their students better than ever before. They’ve met their families and their pets and have been invited (virtually) into their living rooms and kitchens. They’ve talked with their students about more than academic content. In the midst of a pandemic and a racial justice revolution they listened as students expressed their insecurities, fears and trauma. And through it all, they ensured that kids continue to learn. 

It has not been a lost year for our students, but a year of incredible growth. They’ve learned resiliency, they’ve gained independence, and they’ve been heard and seen in entirely new ways. 

So much of what happened previously in our schools was about routine and tradition. But when we were forced to close the school doors and deliver learning in an entirely new way, it gave us the freedom to see our kids as they are today. 

As we begin to plan for next year and the years beyond, we will not be looking to the past. That playbook is out-of-date and out-of-touch. Instead, we are taking all that we’ve learned this year and developing a new version of our schools. One where obstacles and barriers that may contribute to systemic inequities are removed and where all students have the resources and opportunities to succeed.

Serving our students better: That’s the legacy of this remarkable school year. 

Superintendent Malinda Lansfeldt
 

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