Building a Community of Care
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” while festive in its positive message, this time of year can also be extra stressful.
It’s hard not to be totally consumed by all the things we need to get done in a day, let alone the next three weeks. Winter Break is a mere three weeks away, bringing with it lots of expectation and preparation as well. And in the meantime, we all must keep up with our daily schedules of school and work and family responsibilities...how stressful! But, amidst all of this, it is also that time of year to reflect, count our blessings, reach out to others, and ensure that our neighbors are okay. Being a part of a community means the people within take care of the people around them.
District 142 is a dynamic reflection of our larger community and the values held dear. Within our school buildings, within individual classrooms and groups (both in-person or remote), across the district among teachers and staff members, and radiating out to our families and neighbors; it has become clear that we have so much more in common than we have in differences. It all comes back to our students. Never before in my time as an educator and administrator have I seen parents so thoughtfully involved in their children’s education. Never have I seen children so enthused to be at school – in whatever mode is available – thirsty for connection with their friends and with our staff. Never have I seen our teachers and staff work so hard to try to teach, connect, nurture, and support our students. All the way around, it’s been an incredible effort with a community-strengthening effect.
We can look at the COVID-19 pandemic in two ways. The first, acknowledging the fact that it’s claimed the lives of too many people, that it’s forced people across the globe into an altered way of living to ensure safety and compliance with guidelines, that it’s wreaked havoc financially for scores of people, and as a school district… it’s made schools bend traditions to flexibly deliver as much education to our students in any way possible. To say COVID-19 has changed our way of life would be an understatement.
On the other hand, COVID-19 has also brought about a few good things as well. On a daily basis, we have firsthand stories of teachers and staff reaching out beyond the classroom walls to connect with students, staff and parents delivering food, clothes, and necessities to their friends and family in need, people lending a hand to their neighbors, and so many members of our community extending themselves on behalf of others. Let’s hope the by-product of this results in continued empathy and equity for all people.
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful New Year’s wish? While we don’t always get a choice in how life lessons come to us, like with a pandemic, I am grateful 2020 reminded us all how to value the person next to us. Here’s wishing we carry this care, compassion, and humanity into the 2021 New Year.
Building a better world begins with one community of people at a time. I am proud to be a part of this District 142 community, where the positive examples are plainly evident on a daily basis. Thank you for your contributions and for being a part of something special!