November 2020 Administrative Update
by: Matt Librock
Assistant K-8 Principal
Reset, adjust, pivot, adapt, persevere. These words have likely fit somewhere into all our lives over the past few months and in the approach to teaching and learning there is no exception. Since early spring, and up until the publication of this article, students and staff in the East Aurora School District have been reinventing how they engage in the educational process from both an instructional model and a personal approach to learning. Months of preparation for the 2020-21 school year allowed us to formulate a model that, considering the circumstances and generally speaking, is in the best interest of our students.
Several educational options were considered and after much deliberation the hybrid model of learning was chosen for our district. At the elementary level, grade K-4 students attend school for half the day four days per week. Grade 5-12 students attend two consecutive days per week on either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays are remote learning days for all students throughout the district. Families also have the option for their children to become 100% remote learners and attend classes daily from home via Google Meets.
In order to meet the challenges of hybrid learning, technology has been integrated into our instructional delivery more than ever before. Thanks to the foresight of district personnel, all students have been equipped with personal chrome books. The use of Google Classroom, and several other software applications, has greatly assisted instructional efforts in navigating the new roads we now find ourselves traveling.
Safety is always at the forefront of all decisions made by the district. Masks, Plexiglas barriers, screening tools, directional floor tape, social distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures, and reduced class sizes are just a small accounting of the many ways that safety measures have been integrated into our regular daily routines. While necessary to reduce the potential risk of spreading the virus, these measures provide consistent reminders that this is not a typical school year.
While we have made great progress and have much to be proud of, the reality of the situation is this is hard. Balancing instruction in a class where half the students attend virtually while the other half attend in-person. Students striving to learn independently from behind a screen. Teachers attempting to replicate a typical school day under atypical circumstances. Reduced social interaction because of social distancing safety measures. Internet outages interrupting instruction delivery. Not ideal circumstances by any means.
But, in the end, we are here and physically present in the buildings, something we thought may not be possible just a few months ago. We are able to welcome students into our buildings and make those ever important connections that are more valuable for their social and emotional well-being than, arguably, anything else right now. They get to see their friends, develop routines, and grow in resilience as the challenges they face today will ultimately prepare them with greater strength for the future. While we all hope to return to a traditional model of learning in the foreseeable future, we are thankful for the support of our community and families as we try to make the most of our current situation and do the best that we can for the betterment of our students.