Menomonee Falls, I am starting today with a grateful heart.
I am grateful for caring, committed teachers, who are pouring themselves into new technology to remain connected to students. My 2nd grader’s teacher brings such calm and comfort with her daily video. Though we miss her greatly, seeing her virtually through video and zoom brings smiles to our faces (and sometimes tears to my eyes). I am grateful for video calls, so students, teachers, and principals can be together virtually.
I am so moved.
I am so moved by the joy that I see teachers, principals, and food service employees bringing to their work that is happening in a new way.
Our district’s school nutrition employees are delivering 5,000 meals each week. Sometimes they are dressed up in costumes or funny hats. Even with masks on their face, they are bringing smiles to those they serve.
Teachers are finding ways to use technology to keep students engaged and learning remotely. And they are doing it so quickly. Our district gave teachers one day to plan and implement virtual learning for students. They quickly dove in and made it work, creating work packets, videos, Google slides and more to help support students outside of our schools.
I see teachers collaborating across grade levels and buildings. Our elementary music and phy-ed teachers are cooperating to develop lessons. Sometimes teachers’ children make an appearance in videos to help demonstrate a drill or sing along.
I see teachers doing this even as they care for their children, older family members, friends, and neighbors. This is not easy. Normal hours of the school day are often extended to best respond to when students can complete assignments. One teacher told me that her best working hours were between 5 pm and midnight, so she could review her students’ work.
This is challenging. This time is without a doubt unique.
I see teachers asking for feedback through surveys and emails, understanding that home schedules are different for everyone. I see the lessons changing and improving to help students and families.
I see our district tech team delivering Chromebooks to doorsteps and remotely troubleshooting issues for users.
I see our staff: they are all-in!
I see a virtual talent show, high school students competing virtually in a healthcare conference, elementary-aged students sharing a long list of things to do, community members creating scavenger hunts in their neighborhoods, residents saluting local healthcare workers, and companies donating and sharing personal protective equipment.
I see fellow parents creating Facebook Groups and Google Docs to share resources and ideas for things to do.
I see the talented seamstresses in our community rise to the challenge of making masks for district employees who deliver meals or worked on election day. There was a flurry of fabric and elastic sharing to get the job done.
I see people creating Free Little Libraries and book shares.
(I have likely left out some of the many bright spots that are happening in our community. Please feel free to add them to this list.)
I see you and I am so moved and grateful.
There’s no other community or school district with which I’d want to experience quarantine.
This is my big, virtual hug to you all, School District of Menomonee Falls!
** These are my personal opinions. I am not speaking on behalf of the school board.