No matter the words used to describe the 2020-2021 school year, we all know it was a year unlike any other for our school leaders. At various times throughout the school year, and out of necessity, education became secondary to the health needs of students, staff, families, and communities. Some of our leaders themselves became ill, were hospitalized and returned to lead in unprecedented times.
School leaders turned into quasi-medical professionals making decisions with no formal medical training and input from many, usually pleasing one stakeholder group only to anger another. The days were long, hard, contentious, and uncertain.
Yet, we got through this together. We did so by meeting often, sharing what we knew, finding time for camaraderie before and after meetings, vocalizing our frustrations, sharing what was working, being open and honest with our vulnerabilities exposed, finding opportunities when it seemed none existed, and displaying unparalleled positive attitudes in the face of adversity.
We have often said that things cannot be the same. We told each other we must respond to what we learned through this experience and come out better for having been fortunate enough to survive this pandemic when more than 590,000 Americans did not.
We learned that when times are really tough, as in pandemic tough, collaboration needs to be taken to a whole new level and we did that. The spirit of generosity and care for one another got us through while at the same time demonstrating the strength, compassion and intelligence of our school leaders for all to see.
As you go into summer and reflect upon the last year may the lesson of togetherness stick with you. We got through this together. It is the lesson of our time for those we lead.
Until we meet again, may you have a summer of togetherness with your family and friends!