Dr. Dan Bittman
Elk River Area School District
MASA President 2021-22

The last two years have been filled with crisis, constant distractions, and unpredictability for all of us. With the Thanksgiving and Holiday Season upon us, I am hopeful that each of you will be able to get together with family and friends, share in a meal, and give thanks to those around you. I am also hopeful you will be able to rest and give yourselves permission to make time for self care and reflection.  When we are healthy and practice self care, others benefit too!

As educational leaders, we have the opportunity to count our blessings each and every day as we visit classrooms and witness firsthand the wonderful things happening with our children, families and staff.  We get to celebrate the accomplishments of those we serve often, but also help others work through some of the most difficult, complex situations others might not be able to imagine.  Throughout each of our school districts, many of our children, families and staff experience hardship daily, especially during the holiday season. So as we make time to reflect and care for ourselves, let’s also remind others:

  • There are many families that are currently homeless in each of our school districts. 
  • Our teams work with law enforcement and county workers daily to resolve issues of abuse, neglect, and child endangerment.
  • Many of our children are afraid that when school is not in session over the holidays, they will not get to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Many of our families do not have winter clothing, money to heat their home, or enough food to eat three meals a day.
  • Some of our children from split and/or broken homes will be physically sick because of their worries related to where they will stay, where they will celebrate the holidays, and emotions tied to parent communications or interactions.

These things are real for many.  Let’s remember to give thanks for all that we have, take some time for self care, and help others over the holiday season.  Ask your children about his/her friends who may need a little support, invite a child/family over for a meal if you are able, send leftovers home with your guests, reach out to the elderly, and pay special attention to the needs of those around you.  I know I will!

Thank YOU for taking care of others and for making our schools and communities great places to work, live, and learn!

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