A Message from MSA-CESS Interim President Henry Cram, Ed.D.
Though students and teachers in most communities may be back in the classroom this fall, the COVID-19 pandemic is still weighing heavy.
We have all lost a great deal during the pandemic. Lost learning, lost experience and lost confidence in the safety of the world.
If nothing else, though, the pandemic has made it clear that our priorities for this year must be health and safety, educational programs and accountability, and student life.
Health and Safety
Unless our students and teachers feel safe, learning will not take place.
Schools need to take the lead in fighting misinformation about the virus and the vaccine. Schools must encourage vaccinations, and in their absence, insist on the implementation of science-based recommendations about masks, social distancing and personal hygiene.
Educational Programs and Accountability
Schools must conduct a real assessment of what students have learned or failed to learn during this extended interruption of classes. Curriculums will need to be reviewed and adjusted to address learning gaps — large and small — if we are to avoid dooming students to future failure.
Student life activities and student services need to be redesigned and expanded to address the adjustment all students will face as they begin the path back to school and learning, back to sports and school activities, and back to regular personal lives.
Social and emotional learning will need to be integrated into academic and co-curricular programs whether offered in person or online to ensure that they provide students with the support they need as they acclimate to learning in a post-pandemic world.
The Path Back
Schools have always been and will continue to be the path back as we recover and adapt.
This time around though it will take more imagination, a rethinking of what we do and a greater commitment to getting it done.
By focusing on our students’ health and safety first, adjusting our educational programs to meet their immediate academic needs and by attending to their social and emotional well-being we will get it done.