Summer 2020: A Different Kind of Summer
We have never experienced or lived through anything like we have during the last four months. Many families have experienced trauma, the passing of loved ones, racism and discrimination, and hardship with loss of jobs.
We have never experienced or lived through anything like we have during the last four months. Many families have experienced trauma, the passing of loved ones, racism and discrimination, and hardship with loss of jobs. As families, you dealt with an immediate switch to distance learning and navigated technology that was brand new to many of you, while being isolated, in quarantine or super diligent about not being in contact with others – wearing masks and gloves and social distancing, all while traversing a community that was for the first time experiencing the necessity to keep everyone healthy. Is there a silver lining at the end? Maybe.
We quickly learned how important being healthy was and how to maintain that. We learned how national events outside of COVID-19 affected our families, our historical roots and began discussions in households about listening to and understanding others. Watching the news gave families a starting place to talk to their children about what racism is, how it affects their family, and how each one of us can dismantle and disrupt racist practices in our community. A Neighborhood Night held virtually on June 18 discussed how Danbury is promoting racial equity. Led by a national expert, attendees learned to confront racism head on and how systems such as health, criminal justice and housing are affected. It was decided to continue these discussions monthly. The next one will be held on August 15 at 7:00 pm.
Families learned how to support their children’s learning differently, virtually through computers, iPads and cell phones. Kudos to all of the parents, grandparents, older siblings, and teachers and support staff that ensured students did their work and finished the end of the year strong. Congratulations to the parents who did double duty: working and supporting children’s learning at home simultaneously. The ability to manage time, keeping jobs, while meeting the social and emotional needs of all, is commendable. You may be thinking, where is that silver lining? It’s been really tough jockeying so many responsibilities, worrying about health issues, and what’s going to happen moving forward.
I see the silver lining as we have become a community that is stronger, our children have learned to adapt to a different way of learning and, as adults, we all deserve a pat on the back. It hasn’t been easy but everyone endured and did what they needed to do to survive. Over the past two weeks, we have seen over 770 students graduate from Danbury High School and I attended numerous preschool graduations, witnessing graduates that are prepared for their next step in life. Thank you to the families who have answered the many surveys about coming back to school or participated in any of our open listening forums. The surveys and hearing your comments, suggestions and thoughts about returning to school is helping Danbury Schools develop its reopening plan.
The silver lining is having a healthy family, seeing new ways of keeping those special milestones alive in each family, knowing that no matter how hard it was, we survived. However, it isn’t over yet. We need everyone to stay diligent, listening and responding to each other, being honest and looking forward to the challenges that I am sure will be conquerable!!
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.