Dear SBISD Employees and Families,
Our community, city, state and nation on hold
The message I sent yesterday, extending our suspension of normal operations through at least May 1, was a hard one to send, on so many levels.
The extended closure for all public schools in Texas as required by Governor Abbott’s Executive Order (with which we wholeheartedly concur), affirms that our city, state and nation have still not reached the apex of this awful virus. Its impact on our country and our community continues to be beyond anything we have ever seen or experienced before.
Our sustained closure affirms that all the things we love to do together as families, friends, neighbors and community members are still on hold. It affirms that our families will continue to face the challenges of trying to maintain normalcy and livelihoods, while also sustaining learning and well-being for their children. It also affirms that our hopes of seeing all of our students back in school just can’t happen yet.
Together, finding new ways
But, it also affirms that the Collaborative Spirit and Collective Greatness we value so much in SBISD is alive and well, and that together we are figuring it out! While we continue to post great digital resources for our students, and our teachers continue to connect with students in new ways, there are many important decisions to be made. Our aim is to minimize the short- and long-term impact of this health crisis on our children’s learning, their social and emotional well-being, their academic records and their school experiences.
This week, for example, our principals are working via remote teams to address everything from grading guidelines to graduation. Our HR team is finding new ways to conduct interviews so we continue to hire the brightest and very best teachers for the year ahead. Our partners are collaborating to sustain our Reading Buddies initiative remotely and to continue programs like Blessings in a Backpack so our kids don’t go hungry on the weekend.
Class of 2020
Today, we have made the difficult decision to cancel/postpone proms and events that were scheduled during the month of April, but we have not yet made decisions about events in May. Additionally, we have not yet cancelled graduation ceremonies. At the same time, we are considering creative and meaningful ways to celebrate the Class of 2020 should circumstances require us to do so. Seniors should look for specific details about senior events coming out from your schools directly in the days ahead. This is a very special time for these students, and despite what’s happening around us, it’s important to celebrate our seniors and their accomplishments.
Challenges and wins
This week, I have experienced the challenges of supporting my own child in an online learning environment. It’s not easy! Thank you for sticking with us and learning alongside us. There will be frustrations, but there also will be wins- enjoying a virtual field trip together, or sharing the experience of a virtual author visit, or just taking time to be together - school aside. Look for the wins and celebrate them!
Don't expect perfection
Please know that while sustained learning, and for me especially, keeping our kids reading, is critically important, nothing is more important right now than sustaining your health and well-being. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or your children. This is new territory for us all, and for parents, this can be a really trying time. Our counseling team has put together a newsletter to support you. The first issue is available at this link. We also are adding articles on our resource page we hope will be of help.
Stay informed and follow guidelines
Please continue to monitor and abide by the guidelines of our public health and government officials. While we have had to close our playgrounds, we have kept our middle school tracks open and available for our community’s use, but we can only continue to do so if everyone maintains social distancing as recommended by the CDC.
We hope you will continue to take advantage of our Grab and Go Meals service. Elementary families will receive information about our next study-guide pick up opportunity scheduled for this Friday. And, look for the Sunday afternoon email announcing the Week 3 Digital Backpack.
I believe in our kids. I believe in our educators. I believe in our community, and I believe in you. Thanks for continuing to believe in us, too!
Jennifer Blaine, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools