Dec. 4 Update

December 4, 2020 

 

Doing it Differently. 

 

Thanksgiving looked different at our house this year. I’m not sure how you celebrated, or even if you celebrated, but instead of lots of people packed into our home, we had just our kids and their spouses – our bubble. We prepared similar types of food, set the table, got out the puzzle table, but the noise and hustle of a large family gathering was missing. Until...the Zoom call. 

 

My husband has lots of extended family in the area. We could number 40ish if we were to gather in one spot. As we started the Zoom meeting, we watched as family gathered, each at their own homes. There was, of course, the typical muting, unmuting, checking speakers, adjusting headphones, etc. But as the little squares on the screen increased – it happened. The connection. The joy of “seeing” each other. Commenting on how the children had grown, checking in on jobs and school situations, laughing at previous memories of Thanksgiving, and just enjoying each other for a while. 

 

It was not our preference. It was not our first choice. But it did not keep us from accomplishing what always happens during our holiday celebrations. We connected. We laughed. We shared. We caught up. For now, it is the safest option for our family. For now, it is how we demonstrate that we care for each other.  

 

For now.  

 

We all hope this is a temporary situation. We are hopeful about the news of a vaccine. We are hopeful that our community will come together and work toward decreasing the spread so that we can return to something more like “normal. 

 

This gathering is not unlike NSD and remote learning. Our move to remote learning does not mean that we have let go of our commitment to teaching and learning. It is not our preference. It is not our first choice. But, we are NOT closed. We are open in a different manner. We are committed to accomplishing the important and essential parts of what we do. It does mean that we have to find other ways to teach, to assess, to collect assignments, to offer help when students study, to grow resilience, grit, determination and responsibility.    

 

Our front office folks are making phone calls – and not just a few phone calls. Lots of phone calls.    

 

We are using our best detective skills to “find” students who are not consistently connecting with us.  

 

Counselors, teachers, and principals are making home visits.  

 

Nutrition Services and our Family Community Resource Centers are finding a way to get food to the doorstep of families in need.  

 

We are connecting students with mental health concerns to the supports they need.  

 

Our Technology staff are following up with families who have hot spots, but don’t seem to be using them.  

 

We have committed to “meeting” our students somehow, someway, on Wednesdays, with our purpose focused on well-being.  

 

Our nurses continue to care for staff and families  guiding them in following appropriate protocols. 

 

Buildings are connecting parents with other parents, daycares, and resources, supporting them in finding ways to care for their children as they are at work.  

 

We do recognize that remote learning impacts families in a variety of ways. It challenges routines, changes daily schedules, and interferes with work schedules. We also recognize that it can be difficult to manage your student’s learning environment. One of our staff members has taken the time to share some ideas and thoughts to support you as we live in this temporary learning environment. We hope you find this short video helpful. https://youtu.be/7_QPMPEucw0 

 

We want to once again remind you that we want to support you. If your family is struggling with access to food, to daycare, to mental health supportsto extra academic support beyond classroom times, please reach out to your building. We may not be able to solve each situation, but we may have connections or access to resources that can support your family while we remain in remote learning. 

 

Students have two more weeks of school before the end of the semester – these are important learning weeks.  For our secondary students, we are finishing the work of the semester. We are collecting assignments and other evidence of learning. We will be assigning grades for the first semester. For our youngest elementary children, we are testing to determine their progress in essential reading skills. This information will help us fill in gaps and move forward in learning. Together, families and schools can support our students. 

 

Thank you for you partnership with us. 

 

With regard, 

 

Paula 

 

Dr. Paula Kellerer 
Superintendent
 
Nampa School District