Summer Update 2021

LOGOFORDR-LETTER

 

Lion Family,

As summer continues, it is my hope that each of you are spending time doing enjoyable things with the people in your lives. 

As most of you know, during the summer, schools take inventory of the previous year’s successes and challenges.  Each summer is unique in this regard because each year presents its own challenges. 

A year ago, we were preparing to begin a school year unlike any before it.  Expectations were changing daily as were new challenges that had never been considered before. 

Safety is always the primary concern when dealing with our children, so the amount of things we were preparing for last year brought with it new anxieties and whole new ways of trying to educate students while also keeping them masked and distanced in a continuously sanitized environment. 

Despite the pandemic, teachers and students continued doing nearly everything they do in a normal year but with frequent and creative editing.  Additionally, teachers were moving forward creating an online component for At-Home learners along with helping many parents become their child’s primary teacher. 

Throughout all of these challenges, our students continued to excel in academics, athletics, fine arts, and citizenship. 

Due to the state not giving out ratings this year, we are grading ourselves against the state average.  On fifteen of those indicators, we are above the state average (several of these by 10 or more points).  We trail the state average on five of those indicators (all by 5 percentage points or less).  We are very proud of this, and it is a direct reflection of the hard work of our teachers, our support staff, and our students. 

Additionally, there are many indicators of students continuing to make progress despite lost instructional time, our At-School students tended to fare better than our At-Home learners, and from feedback we have received, the At-Home model tended to create more school anxiety for students and parents on the whole. 

We know that some of this is due to the break from routine and the hard daily reality of life during a pandemic, we also believe that – no matter how hard we try – it is difficult to bring the same daily expectations, rigor, and classroom community structure to any type of online model. 

In short, we believe that the traditional school model is the most effective. 

As we continue preparing for next year, addressing lost instructional time will be our primary focus.    This has been a centerpiece of conversation during this legislative session and has been echoed throughout the TEA updates.

There is plenty of time left to enjoy the summer, and we are already excited to begin a new school year.  The challenges we faced last year have given us new tools and a newfound appreciation for what used to pass as a “normal school day”.  We believe that all of those trials have led us to a brighter stretch of road that we are incredibly grateful to reach.

Thanks for sharing your kids with us!

Sincerely,

Dr. Blaylock
 


Preparation – Purpose - Pride