Thu Oct 10 letter from the Superintendent

Oct. 10, 2002, midnight | 21 years, 8 months ago

The following letter was handed out today, Thursday, October 10, 2002, to all students at the end of sixth period class. The letter addresses the discussions of yesterday's professional day, and the continued support from the community.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Parents, Students, and Staff:

Yesterday, teachers, principals, and school support staff -- including transportation personnel, cafeteria workers, and others who help keep our schools operating smoothly -- met in professional development activities designed to continue improving our school system. These were important meetings at a time when the larger community attention is elsewhere. We have asked our staff to remain focused on the mission of the school system. This means that teaching and learning are our priorities, even as we ourselves struggle with the threats to our community.

Our task is to maintain the continuity of our instructional program. In reality, this is the best thing we can do for our students. I met with a large number of teachers yesterday who said quite frankly that right now their priority is to keep their students focused on meeting the objectives of their lesson plans. I admire such professionalism, even though I know that many of these teachers are wary and anxious (and, indeed, frightened) about the recent events. They have chosen to maintain as much normalcy as possible.

A return to normal operations is our school system's goal. For this reason, we have resumed all indoor afterschool and evening student and community activities today, but not outdoor activities at schools for students and the public. We will continue to make decisions on these activities on a daily basis in response to unfolding events. We thank you for your continued patience.

One thing that remains a foremost priority is the continued security of our schools. We have received national attention for the responsiveness and professionalism of staff who have made difficult decisions, implemented them effectively, and communicated quickly. Lessons learned since the September 11th tragedy last year have been important in adjusting to our new circumstances. We also have been supported by a vast contingent of county, municipal, state, and federal law enforcement officers and other resources. In addition, parent and community volunteers are assisting our schools, helping students walk safely to school, especially now that student safety patrols have been removed temporarily from street corners and walkways.

In the days ahead, other changes in school operations are likely to occur. We will keep letters coming each day to provide updates. For today, it is heartwarming to know that our buses ran on time this morning, our cafeterias were ready for breakfast and lunch, and our secretaries fielded a range of questions and requests. At times like these, it's the seemingly little things that count.

Jerry D. Weast, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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