Guest Opinion: Rising up to the challenge
As we come to the end of another school year, we find ourselves in a unique position! We are not doing business as usual. This time of year, many of us would be attending awards ceremonies and planning for traditional graduation ceremonies. Instead, we are working to celebrate everyone in this current virtual world that is our current reality.
Due to the closing of schools and businesses in response to slowing the spread of COVID 19, we have been faced with the challenge of identifying ways to continue our service delivery. Our incredible leaders, teachers, support staff, bus drivers, food service and maintenance employees have come to the rescue!
I am amazed by this entire school district for how they’ve handled this unprecedented situation. It’s certainly a work in progress and a learning experience for everyone. I am proud of the creativity and innovation of the School District of Lee County as they have adapted to the current situation and continue providing the necessary support to our students and staff.
Changes have been made in the way we educate, feed and support our children, to include:
– We often complain about how technology has ruined childhood. In some ways, technology might be saving it now.
– Our dedicated teachers have connected with their students and continue to provide academic instruction and support to students virtually.
– Chromebooks were provided to Elementary students.
– Hotspots were distributed to those needing internet connection.
– More than 40,000 ZOOM meetings have been held since virtual learning began. An incredible 98% of students are connecting with their teachers on a regular basis.
Grab & Go Meals
– Food and Nutrition Services has established pick-up sites at 40 SDLC schools.
– Transportation is supporting our meal distribution efforts via their 10 Bus Routes that deliver food to 35 Bus Stops.
– SDLC has partnered with 13 community agencies to distribute food to our students and families in need. Dedicated volunteers support these efforts daily by helping to prepare and distribute the food.
Mental Health and Wellness
– School counselors and social workers maintain communication with students and are available to assist virtually and by phone.
– The Student Services Department has published a Family Resource Guide that will be shared at our Grab & Go Sites.
“The class of 2020 came into the world in the year of 9/11. They will head out into the world in the year of COVID-19. These are kids who are adept at being connected virtually — academically and socially.” — Mark Woods, Florida Times Union
This class is experiencing a tremendous moment in the history of our world. We are so proud of their perseverance, dedication, and accomplishments. We know that the celebrations for the SDLC Class of 2020 will be like no other.
There is an opportunity before us and we share the responsibility to move beyond it. As we continue to focus on children, this Board of Education and the Superintendent, our staff, families, students, along with the tremendous support we receive from our community, will leave a mark in history! Let’s continue to work together!
– Mary Fischer is the School Board of Lee County Chair. She represents District 1