Dear Blakely Community,
Happy Monday! It is hard to believe that we are in our last week of April, and have been out of our school building for almost 7 weeks. The reality of our situation continues to sink it, and I find myself holding a few emotions in tension with one another: weary and hopeful; overwhelmed and grateful; in despair and joyful. Nothing about this is easy, and I want to reiterate the message that it is okay to feel like you don’t have it all together, all of the time. Also, it is perfectly normal, and even expected that you and your children are likely experiencing a variety of emotions.
One thing that continually helps me to feel better is to think of, and stay connected with our community. We will be having a Zoom PTO meeting this Thursday at 4:00 pm! PTO will share a link and I hope to see you there. We also have a Zoom staff meeting each week, and even seeing one another through the screen makes things seem hopeful and brings a smile to my face. We share a lot of laughter, as well as happy and sad tears through the computer screen these days!
At this point in the year, I am essentially working within three different categories: 1) Our Continuous Learning journey for the remainder of this year, 2) How we end our school year in a way that is meaningful and special for our students and, 3) Planning for next year. I thought it would be helpful to give you a brief glimpse into some of the current and ongoing work in each of these areas.
Our Blakely staff is continuing to tirelessly work on our Continuous Learning plan by refining assigned content, leveraging our platforms in a more meaningful way, and discovering the best ways to use Zoom as an instructional and communication tool with students and families. As I mentioned last week, we have begun to monitor participation in assigned tasks in order to make sure we are meeting the needs of our students and offering support when and where needed. We have also received guidance from OSPI regarding end of the year grading, and will discuss this as a K-6 BISD team in order to make decisions grounded in our core values and common sense. I will update you as soon as I have additional information, likely in the next few weeks.
One of the hardest parts of this situation is not being able to end the school year together in our building. Our staff continues to think creatively about ways in which we can encourage our students, help them feel connected to their classroom and our Blakely community, and have our school year come to a close in the most special and meaningful way possible while at a distance. We have several different ideas (many that we want to keep as a surprise), but are also open to suggestions. Please feel free to pass along any feedback or ideas you may have about this!
Lastly, we are in the throes of our typical planning for next year, even though we don’t quite know what next year will look like. It really is hard to make predictions in a time of so much uncertainty, but at this point we are proceeding with our staffing and hiring process as usual. We are thinking through class placement procedures, but waiting a bit longer than usual as we want to see how things progress over the next few weeks. Regardless of when we come back, we know that our main focus will be supporting our students where they are at emotionally, socially, behaviorally and academically. We may need to look at new systems to address how we transition back into school, but we will remain focused on students first and will engage with all of you (our community) in this process. Here is an interesting read about what school could look like next Fall: Fall 2020
Joke of the Week: Do you want to hear a joke about pizza? Nevermind, too cheesy! A big thank you to Annabelle Osborne for a great joke!
This week also marks the recognition of the hard work of our Blakely volunteers; in school before our building closure and now as you work side-by-side to support your child(ren). We are so very grateful for each of you and all that you do to make Blakely a special community. Happy Volunteer Appreciation week. We truly could not be the school that we are without your dedication and support! A million thanks!!
Sending you all my continued wishes for a week of connection, joy, sanity (ha!), and health.
Take good care,