School started September 8. Today is September 18.
Nine days. It's both gone by quickly and it's been oh so long.
Half my students attend school virtually. Half my students attend school in a hybrid format. Half of the half come to school Monday and Thursday. The other half of the half come to school Tuesday and Friday. Wednesday is a virtual day for everyone.
So school is different this year.
I've seen virtual orchestra.
Art supplies go home to virtual students.
My community has been wonderful. The community includes students and parents, but also teachers, administrators, bus drivers, secretaries, custodians, hall monitors, paraprofessionals. We are finding our way.
What lessons can be learned in nine days?
Many perhaps but one very clearly. Public schools matter.
Public schools matter because kids connect with our teachers. Our students need the connection with these adults to help guide them. Our students know so much; they are so very savvy in so many ways. But they need our teachers to give them perspective, to give them insight, to give them a sense that they are capable, to give them confidence.
Public schools matter because they build communities. Real communities. Communities that don't pick and choose whom to associate with but include everyone. Our pubic school communities welcome all who show up. We don't put up walls that include only certain students who think or look or sound like us.
It is a struggle at times as we try and figure out how to work and talk and learn with each other. Sometimes we don't like each other very much. But we find a way to make it work.
A community. A place where people are committed to figuring it out.
It's been a hard nine days. But hard is good. The struggle is important. The struggle means that all of us care. We want to make it work because we know that it is important that connections are built and communities continue to be strengthened.
I am heartened because we are finding our way.