October 2021 Administrative Update
by: Mark Mambretti
It’s Time to Bundle Up!
One of the best parts of living in WNY is the change of seasons and, with them, the rituals that we follow to mark the passage of time: festivals, fairs, holidays, big games, and community events! Recently, it was wonderful to witness first-hand a ritual we all missed last year: the return of students – all students – to the classroom. The joy and energy present in the buildings since then has been electric and the students and staff have been polite, respectful and responsible. Other than the presence of facemasks, it is the closest we have felt to ‘normal’ in 18 months!
However, with the change of seasons, we know that storms often come too. On both the larger and local level, we have weathered many storms recently. Whether rooted in the pandemic, politics, or societal, ethical and even personal concerns, the ‘storms’ of the last 18 months have continually pummeled us and show no signs of stopping. Regardless of which side of an issue you may be on, I think we can all agree the storms have led us to be less united than we can be – and should be.
So how have we, as a District, worked together to weather these storms as #oneEA?
As Sir Ranulph Fiennes reminds us - and as we, all know from living here -, "There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing." We, as a District family, have geared up to protect ourselves from the harsh storms!
First, we have taken to wearing the gloves of gentleness. Winter drivers know the effects rapid acceleration, quick breaking and sudden turns can have on a vehicle during a storm. The same counts for navigating how to best deal with individuals, families, and situations. Slow, steady, and gentle are the way!
Second, we have committed to putting on the hat of respect, with its two core hallmarks: Loyalty and Justness. We have pledged to be a District that both respects and represents the full diversity of the human experience.
Third, we have taken to wearing the glasses of positivity. Instead of focusing on what is wrong with public education, we speak first of what is strong with public education. That does not mean there are not problems – real problems that need real solutions. It means we must first recognize that there is so much more that is ‘good’ than is ‘broken’.
Fourth, we have draped over our shoulders the parka of empathy. A line in Disney’s movie “Frozen” states, “People make bad choices when they’re mad or scared or stressed…” Over the last 18 months, I believe we have all had those feelings – and the longer this all goes on, the more often we will feel them. As a result, bad choices will happen. The song, however, continues, “…but throw a little love their way and you’ll bring out their best!” Understanding and Kindness matter.
Lastly, every day we lace up the work boots of effort. Currently, it is not easy to do what we do. However, when you see the joy and energy the students bring into the building, you see that all the hard work is worth it! It does not mean that we are all going to always agree on what the next step should be. But it does make non-negotiable, in a world that seems to have become a politicized "us vs. them", that the only way we will survive, and thrive, through the storm is by bundling up to move forward as “we”.