This post is dedicated to all of you…. the parents/caregivers who have been superheroes throughout this Stay at Home Order during this scary global pandemic.
Because many of us are also living your live of raising children and teaching our own children, while working and managing the other children and house and devices and absolutely normal chaos that comes with family life, we GET how stressful this has been on all of you. I have great admiration for parents on social media platforms who capture the insanity of our current lives with few words and a just right image.
Later this week, we will have a special shout out for all of you from us…so until then, enjoy the sunshine this day brings our way.
Before I close, I wanted to let you know that because there are no school events on the calendar, I provide one to help you remember the day of the week below.
It’s the final week of April. May begins on Friday. Before this school year, February has traditionally been the ‘longest, shortest month’ in education. We are sick of the relentless gray skies, winter weather, indoor recess, viruses going around that make us sick and irritable and Valentine’s Day which is a blessing and a curse in schools. BUT…for the first time in my educational career, the longest month has been replaced this year by the month of April. Thank you COVID19 for changing things up!
And thousands of cheers to you, our parents, who have negotiated this long month as parents, teachers, employees and all the daily tasks of maintaining a family. Please continue to reach out to me or your teachers if/when you feel overwhelmed. To be fully transparent and vulnerable with you, we are also overwhelmed.
I have never been more exhausted than I am now. Endless hours on zoom — and when not on zoom creating materials on loom. Add grieving the lost time with the children we care so much for and about and our own anxiety about how to do as much as we can and not put too much pressure on you is something we are all doing in isolation and in the dark. (Apologies for that horrific run on sentence.)
If you can connect with your child’s teacher and the lessons the best you can when you can, THIS is WHAT is important and matters. We are continuing to put connections over content — which is a bizarre and uncomfortable tension to negotiate. However, this is also what has made Georgetown exceptional. We know that no one can learn if they do not feel cared for and about and safe.
We will continue to post lessons — and these lessons will stay up through the summer. If you can’t get to everything now, go back in the summer months. If your child needs more, pursue the endless options found online. Many companies have made learning enrichment free during this global pandemic.
I sense that you, like me, are searching for good news to read/share. One that I HIGHLY recommend is John Krasinski’s SGN (Some Good News). It’s wonderful.
Some other fun VERY LOCAL GOOD news are from our very own Georgetown kids! I get lost in flipgrid hearing their voices and seeing their faces. Every submission is an injection of love and energy for my soul!
Check out these flipgrids for PE, MUSIC, MASKS, JOKES and more.
On May 5, Hudsonville School parents and community members will have the chance to vote on our annual non-homestead millage renewal. This election will be primarily conducted by absentee ballot. You most likely received an application in the mail regarding this election cycle. We ask that you please fill out the application, so you will be mailed an absentee ballot. This is an annual renewal request that voters have approved every year for the past 25 years and would generate approximately 5.3 million dollars of operating revenue for our school district. As a reminder, this is not a tax on primary residences and is not a new tax. We do encourage you to apply for an absentee ballot, but if this is not an option for you, please get out and vote that day.
Hello from my comfy cozy living room couch. This seems to be my go to spot to chill and to work — and never in a million years did I imagine myself ever spending this much time on my couch! The sun was out today, temps a bit more mild so I tried to give my couch a break. It felt wonderful to take a walk, work in the yard and relax in the sunshine.
The past two weeks, parents have asked how to talk to kids about the global pandemic. One resource that I’ve found most helpful is the PBS KIDS Coronavirus Tips. PBS is filled with excellent resources of all. types so it is always one of my first go to sites.
The teachers and I continue to work together online to plan lessons and talk about how much we miss you and one another. We’re using each other as experts to learn how to best learn and teach remotely. It’s not the same and really tiring. Our most common conversation is around striking a balance between providing lessons and not overwhelming parents. We hope that all of you know that we want you to do the best you can and then let go. Every single child will start the school year on the same footing as the other. We will all have been away from school for 5+ months. Again, we give you permission to do your best and let go.
Air Hugs…and hope/wishes for sunshine with temps in the 60’s!
Many thanks to all of our English Language teachers who welcome our students from beautiful countries other than our own. These students come to Hudsonville to start new lives —- and to do this, they also have to learn a new language and meet new friends and learn how to adapt to routines that are different than their own. The video above celebrates who they are and who they are becoming. As Mrs. Cooley, the EL teachers says in the video, their voices give hope for the future.
I am married to a first generation American who’s family survived World War II. We made sure that our own children learned the history of their father and grandparent’s survival. I will always remember the look on my children’s faces when their Oma told how she would take a late night shift to steal coal. Her shift involved waiting for the German soldiers to change posts. When that happened, she would run to the coal pit and load her bag and apron with coal to share with the other women who were raising small children in the apartment complex. The coal allowed them to heat their homes and make food for their families.
Where were the fathers? All the non-Jewish white males were taken from their families to German munitions camp — building weapons to fight the war.
I have also listened to the stories my husband and his siblings have told about how difficult it was to learn a new language and learn new routines and make new friends far away from the home they left behind. It was not easy for them. They struggled to learn the language and make ends meet.
My husband and his siblings did not have Mrs. Cooley (our EL teacher) as their advocate. Hudsonville is exceptionally fortunate to have EL teachers to support new families who are new to our country — and our language and so much more. These amazing families build our community to be bright, stronger and better.
Enjoy this celebration (above) … and thank you to Mrs. Cooley and your EL team for all you do for these children who are part of our school community! Below is an example of immigrants who are now on the front lines working to keep us safe.
In partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, actors are posting their stories on Instagram and Facebook to provide fun and education to kids and parents stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
This is an amazing site that has made children’s stories free during our shelter in place. Please check it out. It is a rich, valuable resource for books that you and your children can listen to together.
Yes….we are really headed into our fourth week of remote learning and being home ALL. THE. TIME. (Technically, it’s the 5th week … but I am not counting spring break as a school week).
This week, the teachers and myself are doing our best to set similar expectations for remote learning for each grade. We must leave wiggle room in these expectations because not all of us have stable wifi for virtual meetings/calls — or time/space for uninterrupted virtual meetings. I have been kicked off from multiple virtual meetings due to my location / lack of access to stronger broadband. Many of teachers are parents of young children who always “NEED” something as soon as a virtual meeting begins. This is a new world for all of us to negotiate and the longer we do this, the more questions (rather than answers) we have!
Behind the scenes, we are working to refund money to parents for the Parent/Child Days Out as well as the funds for 5th grade Camp. The refunds will be coming. I ask for your patience as we work out the best ways to do this safely and correctly.
Many of you have asked about collecting items from school (gym shoes, personal items in your child’s desk, etc.). A district wide protocol for this is being developed —- and it will be common across buildings. We will not execute this until the stay at home order is lifted. Stay tuned….
In the meantime, STAY HOME and STAY HEALTHY. Get creative and make a mask to wear. I used old dresses and shirts and hair ties. This week, I will ask students to share photos of their homemade masks on a flipgrid! Why? Because we are all in this together so we want to protect ourselves and one another!
Also, for some uplifting news during this tough time, check out SOME GOOD NEWS by john Krasinski videos (one below) or Jim Gaffigan’s Home Quarantine videos (one above).
And…I miss the kids and staff terribly. Working everyday to focus on health and safety to help compensate for missing contact with the people I love so much. I am a work in progress…that’s for sure!
If you’d like to thank the people who are providing essential services, here are some people to write:
MAIL CARRIERS: Put a letter in your mailbox for your mail carrier to read.
UPS and/or FEDEX: Put a big thank you note on your front door.
GROCERY Delivery: TIP and an appreciation note.
SANITATION: Thank you on the trash container.
HOSPITAL STAFF: On staff member at Spectrum has set up a system for streamlining letters to all the staff (lab techs, therapists custodial staff, food service staff, nurses, physician assistants, doctors). Use the information below:
Alex Vogt, Emergency Department • 200 Jefferson Ave SE. • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
All letters received will sit for 24+ hours before being handled and sent out.
Spring Break has arrived … and we are headed into it knowing that schools will be closed for the remainder of the year. Although I was prepared to hear this news from Governor Whitmir, it was still very difficult to accept the reality of not coming back together as a school family this year. I’ve had to accept how sad I am — and give myself permission to grieve. A friend recommended Brené Brown’s finding meaning during a time of grief. It was the perfect podcast to help me own my sadness while working on how to support you and your children through distance learning.
This week, I plan to turn my school brain down a couple notches and do my usual spring break activities: drawer cleaning, weed pulling, podcast listening, book reading….and connecting with friends in new ways. I hope you and your family can find creative ways to have fun during our ‘Social Distancing Spring Break!’
Before I wrap up, I wanted to remind you that even though we’re not together, it is still time for you to provide feedback on each child’s strengths/needs to help us build class lists for next year. If you would like to complete the survey, visit this link: PARENT SURVEY: CLASS LISTS The survey results come to me only. I cannot honor all parent requests so please keep this in mind when you submit your form. The survey closes on APRIL 17 @ midnight.
Many factors go into creating classes, for example a fair distribution by gender, ability and much more. We spend over 20 hours in the spring working on class lists. Thank you for your support while we prepare for this important work. And….something to keep in mind for the future: This survey is unique to me as a leader. Not all principals do this…and I do not know if this will be done with the next principal.
Wishing you week that I very much hope is healthy and fun!
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