Over the last few weeks, uncertainty (to say the least) has become a way of life, and we have all been adapting to a new routine for the well-being of ourselves, our families and our community. I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you – parents, students, faculty, staff – for the way in which you have adjusted to all of the changes that have been thrown your way.
I have lived in this community for over 25 years and have served on the Board of Education for 15 of those years. I have seen more acts of compassion, kindness, helping one another and learning to be resilient in the past month than I have ever seen before. And the range of “do good” activities is far-reaching – children writing positive chalk messages on their driveways, flowers being sent to front line workers, residents supporting small businesses via The Great American Takeout, food/snack donations collected for hospital workers, our Chinese school donating medical supplies, our town creating a 311 service to help people in a variety of ways, the Communications Committee creating the BH Business Directory, the PAL’s Feed the First Responders/Healthcare workers program to donate food, the Silver Liming Foundation campaign for kindness, the Virtual Mask Factory to make mask for front-line medical personnel and simply people checking-in on one another even if they have to do it through a window…the list goes on and on.
On an average day one can oftentimes find someone who has an issue with either the school district (maybe a policy they would like changed), the township (perhaps pothole repairs are not happening fast enough on their street), a local store in town isn’t providing adequate service, or maybe even a neighbor’s trash blowing on your lawn… but not now… you don’t hear any of those complaints. Now is a time when our community has pulled together to act as one… if you’re looking for a name – call it BH Strong. I am incredibly proud (and know you are too) of the way our community has pulled together in a situation that is rapidly evolving. What you are doing to support each other is extraordinary. Let’s keep it up until we are on the other side of this virus and life returns back to normal.
On a more practical level, to our entire teaching and support staff – in ways both big and small your dedication, resourcefulness and creativity to do everything possible, while focusing on the best interests of our students, has been visible in countless ways. You overcame an enormous challenge and converted your regular, everyday teaching routines into remote learning, basically overnight. With very little notice, you transitioned your brick and mortar classrooms into virtual learning centers. Your commitment to our students is appreciated, valued and recognized. We encourage you to take the time you need at the end of each day, and on the weekends, to recoup and regroup with your families, just as you would under normal circumstances. Please take care of yourselves, we are counting on you.
I have spoken with dozens of parents over the past few weeks and what makes our teacher’s performances even more impressive is that we are doing interactive instruction of new material, in contrast to many other school districts that are simply handing out packets/assignments and checking in with students once a week. Just ok is NOT the BH way, we didn’t simply transition to remote learning - - our teachers and support staff were committed to providing the most robust, comprehensive remote learning experience that we could… not what’s the least we can do to get through this… but what’s the most we can do to educate our students in this new way.
I saw a recent FB post that captured it well, “After 2 weeks of the new ‘normal’ and all the negativity out there… BH teachers are doing an amazing job and making things seem normal around here. Thank you to all the teachers who I know are putting in countless hours… you guys rock!! The post has 339 likes and 52 comments like amazing, couldn’t agree more, truly the best, great job, so impressed, awesome, incredible, outstanding, and many comments about how teachers in other districts don’t come close to doing what we’re doing.
As we all get used to our temporary “new normal” (fully realizing that we don’t know how temporary that will be) and each of you finds your own rhythm, it’s important that we continue to stay connected to one another. The coming weeks will test our patience even more – more students and adults working side-by-side at home, kids unable to play with their friends, no organized activities, sporting events, or family nights out at a restaurant.
I want to close with a huge thank you to everyone. I’m incredibly proud of the care and empathy you’re showing to each other. I see the pride everywhere… and I know that BH is managing through this challenging situation “as best as we can”
Be Well… Stay Safe… and continue Social Distancing…