Sunday, April 26, 2020

April 26 Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope everyone is doing well.  This past week felt very different because even though most people are not surprised by the news of schools being closed for the year, the reality of this idea setting in brought out a lot of different emotions in everyone in my family.  My oldest daughter, who is a sophomore in high school, sobbed in a manner I don’t often see from her when she heard the news.  She initially felt angry because it was very unjust that her ability to be with her friends and do the things that she liked doing with them was taken away.  She then felt disappointment because all the things she had looked forward to doing in this Spring all evaporated in a span of a few minutes.  I think all students across the country are feeling this way.  They are all grieving the loss of normalcy and the sense of belonging to a community.  I have no doubt we adults are all feeling this way as well.

We started our Distance Learning program with a focus on enrichment and extension.  We then shifted gears to include teaching new content, grading and accountability.  Now that we know we are implementing Distance Learning for the long haul, McCall teachers, staff, and I are adjusting our thinking about it once more.  I know students miss each other, and they miss the teachers and staff; just as we miss our colleagues, and we miss our students.  Therefore, I am working with McCall staff members to make sure we are always thinking about how we can create opportunities for community building and human interactions to occur in the Distance Learning classes, in the teams, in each grade levels, and McCall as a whole.  

I am already seeing a lot of great things happening.  I know there are teachers holding Zoom sessions to teach students content as well as to give them the opportunities to socialize with each other.  Mr. Awiszus, our Engineering and Tech teacher, is working with the 6th grade teachers to plan a virtual engineering day.  Ms. Johnson, our drama teacher, is holding rehearsals with the virtual drama club to get ready for the virtual performance of “10 Ways to Survive Life in a Quarantine”.  Extracurricular activities such as the QSA, Student Council, and 3D Fab Clubs are all still meeting virtually so students have these opportunities to continue to maintain their social connections.

I often think about how I would like to remember these months under quarantine.  When this all ends – and it will –  I hope the movie I play in my head about the end of the 19-20 school year is not like the movie Groundhog Day where one day blends into the next, and I go through each day feeling very little with nothing to look forward to.  I do not want our students and our teachers and staff to feel that way either.  Therefore, we will continue to work hard to make sure that sense of community is maintained as much as possible.

Thank you and stay healthy!

James Lin
McCall Middle School

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