The following message is from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower:
Today we began the first day of a school year unlike any ever before – and we succeeded because of you.
Because of you – whether you are a teacher, a staff member, a parent, a student, a business partner, or any other valued member of our community – today we successfully opened our schools’ doors for in-person students, and we connected with Digital Learning students online. Without you and your trust, we could not have considered reopening today, and we certainly could not have done it as well as we did together.
To that end, I am so deeply proud of our teachers and staff. We asked them to reinvent teaching this spring, then we asked them to mask up and reinvent it again. They rose to these challenges and again have proven themselves to be the essential workers we always knew them to be.
This morning, my leadership team and I fanned out across CCSD to ensure every school had a visit by me or my senior staff. At every turn, we saw our teachers, our staff and our students working together to succeed (here’s a slideshow of some of the images we snapped and more shared by you with us: https://bit.ly/CCSDunited20). I lost track of the hundreds of different masks our students smiled from behind – the hot pink unicorns, the video game logos, the school mascots. Even if you couldn’t see their smiles, you saw the skip in their step and heard their pride as they answered their teacher’s questions.
When I returned to the office, I peeked at social media and saw dozens of our kids learning from home and smiling for their first-day photos – some with the family dogs, who appear thrilled with the arrangement. I also saw your struggles as we begin our new version of Digital Learning and want you to know we see you, we hear you, and we are dedicated to providing high-quality instructional opportunities to students using this platform! No CCSD student is “second-class” to any other student – not to our teachers, our administrators, me or our School Board.
We know we’re living through a pandemic. We’re going to take positive cases seriously – we care about our kids and our team of dedicated teachers and staff. And, as we’ve said since we announced our reopening plan, we will shut down classes and/or schools if cases rise and closures are in the best interest of our community. In addition to the contact tracing process for students and staff who require quarantine, we will notify you of positive cases at your child’s school. Additionally, as part of our longstanding commitment to transparency, last month we launched a CCSD COVID-19 Case Status Report webpage (https://bit.ly/ccsdc19casereport) that we’ll update weekly.
As we continue with our first week of school, car-rider lines and logins will speed up, names and passwords will be remembered, and life will feel a little more normal for the students who desperately need it to.
I leave you with the picture above of Dean Rusk Middle School siblings Alex and Brady Hoover, and their dad’s caption: “She struck this pose and said ‘Let’s go beat the virus.’”
As we head into day two, we need to fight that good fight together: social distance when we can, and mask up when we can’t; wash our hands, and be kind. We are stronger together. We are better together. We are #CCSDunited.
REMINDER: Please complete the Back to School Gateway “first day forms” at https://bit.ly/CCSDb2s as soon as possible. The username is your child’s Student ID (the code they use in the cafeteria and to log in to computers); the password is their GTID (the longer code on your child’s report card); if you don’t have these, your child’s school can provide them to you. If you complete the process and need to make a change to your emergency contacts, please contact the front office of your child’s school.