A Year of Thanks. . . to Everyone

A Year of Thanks. . . to Everyone
Posted on 03/01/2021
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A Year of Thanks….to Everyone


Oofta! It sure has been awhile since I have last written a blog post! All of my communication these last several months has been primarily done through direct emails to our district families. While I certainly love communicating with our families this way, it is nice to be able to think creatively and write about something other than learning models, schedules, COVID numbers, and COVID cautionary plans. Well, I can’t get too carried away and step away from these topics altogether, but there is something that feels...hm, that perhaps we could be seeing a light at the end of this tunnel? While I certainly acknowledge that we are far from experiencing life as we know it “PC,” or rather Pre-COVID, there are plenty of normal-ish activities happening all around us. As of today, our Kindergarten - 11th grades students are all in person learning every day. Our seniors will join us next week - the week of March 8. Our winter activities have been able to commence with some spectators able to watch in person. Extra-curricular clubs have once again resumed meeting and competing. Classrooms are no longer set up with a strict six feet between one another. BEA has now offered 100% of our staff the option to take the vaccine, and planning is underway for some of the social events that were unable to happen in Spring of 2020. 


Yes, life is definitely starting to look up here at BEA. However, I know that is not how many children across the state are feeling. It is hard for me to imagine, but there are still children in this state who have yet to step inside a classroom since last March. While attending school in Hybrid isn’t as ideal as being all in-person everyday, I am incredibly grateful that BEA has been in-person - either all in-person or in Hybrid - all year long (well, except those two days in October when we went to Distance Learning so some of our quarantines could expire). I am grateful for this as I see firsthand the effects this pandemic has had on our students - and I do not just mean physically. I see students who were not on our radar who are now in our offices daily battling anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. I see the long list of students who, due to the effects of trying to learn remotely, have fallen behind academically. I see the longing of our students, who as human beings, crave the social emotional needs they only get from being around their peers at school. And yet, despite seeing this, I have much to be grateful for at BEA in that we are able to have our students in the buildings learning so we can provide the support they so desperately need. I would be remiss if I did not mention all the folks who have made this possible. 


To the team of Department Heads who met every Wednesday last June, July and August to make plans for the unknown - we could not have started the year without your expertise, input, and valiant efforts to make sure each and every department at BEA was prepared for providing the safest environment possible for our students and staff. To our fearless COVID Coordinator, Nurse Crofton, who tirelessly works to trace contacts, investigate cases, educate, inform, and sift through the ever-changing guidelines....your health leadership has been second to none this year. To our Principals, who have led our staff and students to keep academics at the forefront of what we do, all while sifting through COVID regulations, daily operations, student behaviors, and tasks from your Superintendent. To our Custodial Department, who has worked around the clock to clean, sanitize, and clean, again, our buildings to ensure our students and staff are safe. To our Transportation department, who has driven our students safely to school while maintaining COVID precautions, seating charts, masking requirements, and more. To our Food Service workers, who have revamped the way we serve nutrition - think individually packaged items - and still nailed it day in and day out. To our Technology Department, who have not only made sure ALL of our students have working devices and internet connectivity, but also trained our staff on delivering quality education remotely. To our office secretaries, who have answered questions about attendance, learning models, COVID, quarantines, and everything in between, all with smiles on their faces. To the Incident Command Team, who met weekly to filter through the data and discuss how to best serve our BEA students. To our support staff - paras, social workers, our counselor - who have gone above and beyond to make sure each and every student is having the best possible day, all the while supporting their academics, mental health, and future plans. To our teachers, who came to me and said “We want our students in the building learning, what do we need to do to help?” all while juggling half your class in person, half online. To our parents, who no doubt became educated overnight in learning models, switching schedules, quarantine guidelines, and remained steadfast in your support of the district. And, finally, to our students, who we love and appreciate so very much, and who we have watched in awe battle fearlessly, positively, and energetically while displaying resilience in the middle of a pandemic….to all of these groups of people who make up Blue Earth Area Schools, I cannot say thank you enough. The year could have turned out very differently had we all not pulled together and worked as a team to make it the best year possible for our BEA students, despite all the challenges. While I know this is certainly not the case for many school districts across the state, and even the nation, I thank my lucky stars to be leading this beautiful BEA district and every single person involved along the way. We are truly a special community. 


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