School Leaders in the Age of COVID-19

Who thought that when school leaders went through their principal preparation program that, one day, school would undergo such massive turmoil due to a pandemic?  Who was really prepared for this?  Overnight, schools closed and were forced to jump into the online world.  Certainly more schools might have been more successful than others.  But, common to all, was the desire to provide students with the best possible education they could deliver.  This pandemic also pointed out the great inequities of our school communities with access and resources in an online world.

With the short summer respite that school leaders might have had, I can guarantee their thoughts were on their students and their well-being. The impact of COVID-19 has been massive and has affected all aspects of our world.  Deaths, closures, isolation, and many other catastrophes have occurred.  Perhaps we will never totally recover from the effects of this pandemic.

There are plenty of resources available to deal with the virus.  We know masks, social distancing, and quarantines have helped.  And, yes, many sacrifices have been made for the well-being of others.  While none of us want to sacrifice, our ethical and moral purpose tells us that it must be done.  It is the American way to take on adversity, support one another, and work for a brighter tomorrow.

In the midst of all of this, have been the school leaders and staff members.  Overnight, they transformed schools from a face-to-face community of learners to a virtual community of learners.  I can tell you that every educator would rather be in a school and working closely with their students and colleagues.  But, a sacrifice had to be made and educators arose to the challenge.  Planning for a virtual experience is very different from being in the school and teaching.  Educators did it and realized that school, as we knew it, was going to be different and even more challenging to maintain relationships with students.  Tracking down missing students, contacting parents, being available beyond the school day, online staff meetings, designing rigorous and engaging lessons, and doing all of the through a technology platform was the new normal.  And, it appears that this may continue for a while.

KAESP salutes the amazing work that educators have done.  We know there was not a day that went by that every educator wished they were back in the school with their students.  But, in spite of the challenges, much creativity was shown in maintaining relationships and celebrating the accomplishments of students.  As we face the uncertainly of what the new school  year may bring, I hope we will all rally behind our educators and support them in any way we can.  I can speak for KAESP – we appreciate our outstanding educators and are here to support them!

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