"we have lift-off"

lift off.jpg

this famous saying was initially coined by nasa officials noting that they had successfully launched a spaceship. for years i’ve used the analogy that schools are a lot like airplanes in that the most dangerous and challenging part of a flight is typically when the plane takes off and then when it lands.  schools tend to be very similar to this, and getting the year started even under normal circumstances is no small feat. to add to the stress that is already running high at the start of school, we also had the most ambitious construction project in our school’s history happening at the same time.  and just for fun….well, let’s add a global pandemic to the mix with a host of new guidelines. all while striving to empathetically listen to parents, who have differing views on those guidelines and a faculty and staff with differing opinions on those guidelines. what could go wrong? 

i’m not sure that i can clearly articulate what it was like to get this year started.  we have been very upfront that our goal was to have our students on campus for learning. and we are thrilled that this is the case! we appreciate our parents, who made their thoughts very clear in our surveys that we conducted this summer. overwhelmingly, the consensus was that the grand majority wanted their children back in school, and we have worked very hard to make sure this became a reality. these challenges have required us all to come together in a way we have not done before. as i type this, we have just completed our first full week of school, and i am on day 12 of a 14-day quarantine, as you can imagine, i am anxious to be back to work.  one of the most positive things to come out of being quarantined is hearing and seeing everyone pull so fiercely together out of caring and compassion to ensure we provide an exceptional learning environment that is safe for all of our students, faculty, and staff.  

here are some things i would like to highlight now that we are ten days into the start of the new year:

  • our teachers are doing a fantastic job! most of them have been teaching both live and virtual students daily. they have done so while wearing a mask and managing students who have parents that want them in a mask at all times as well as students who have parents that never want their child to wear one. they are managing the use of desk partitions, social distancing, schedule changes, new lunch routines, and many other tasks that are seldom seen or appreciated. they are not only teaching their students but also make sure that every student is safe. all of the added stresses are forcing schools to help manage burnout and fatigue. across the country, and even in our area, more teachers have resigned in the month of august than ever before. our families have always done a magnificent job supporting our teachers (thank you), and i want to encourage you to continue this even more so this year. they need it. 

  • our parents are doing a fantastic job!  we realize that there are many new “normals” in relation to school. thank you for helping us as we navigate this journey together. it is not easy for anyone. you are doing a great job logging your child’s health each day into the ascend platform and helping us with new drop off and pick up procedures. please know that we desire to return to our preferred manner of doing things, and that means having you on campus! we can’t wait for the day to return when our parents can walk their children into their classes and be seen volunteering on campus! 

  • grace. now more than ever, grace and kindness are paramount. i have encouraged our faculty to exhibit additional grace to our students and families.  we have all experienced things that have not necessarily gone as we have planned. but pulling together and working toward the same goal as a united front is crucial. you have our word that we are systematically reviewing policies, procedures, instructional approaches, and all other parts of our program. the feedback we have received so far has been mostly positive. the first few days have allowed us to see where adjustments need to be made, and we will begin implementing those changes over the next couple of weeks. 

it is exceptional to see how the brainerd baptist school family has come together in a time like this (while being respectful, empathetic, and understanding). we are going to make this a great year of exceptional learning for our students! as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me by email, phone, or in person.

sean corcoran