Today marks a bittersweet conclusion to a school year that few of us could have imagined. Rather than writing you a message paying homage to all the things that we lost and didn't get to do this year, I prefer to focus my message on the things we gained and learned from these past ten weeks.
For the first time in my career, I had to learn how to do my job without teachers and students physically present. It was not easy. There was a learning curve for all of us. However, as a staff, we learned and persevered together, all in the name of keeping your children connected to Terrace in a meaningful way. None of us were trained for how to teach and connect with our students remotely during a pandemic, but we figured out a way as a district and as a school, together.
I am so proud of and grateful for our entire staff, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure your child or children had a constant and familiar connection to their teacher, to their friends, and to their school. The health and well-being of our students and families have been our number one priority, and that was the cornerstone of everything that we set out to accomplish these last couple of months with remote learning. I haven't yet met a more dedicated and caring group of people as the staff at Terrace. Every single individual who works in the building has contributed something important not just these past couple of months, but this past school year as a whole.
Our students learned a lot as well. They have learned how to learn remotely. I have heard from many of them over the course of remote learning, and what I can tell you with certainty is that our students also learned how much they love and appreciate Terrace. They miss their teachers and the staff members that see them and greet them and care for them every day. They miss their classmates and the important socialization that comes with being at school. They even miss their principal! =-)
I think one thing we have all learned is how much we appreciate one another. We as a staff appreciate the challenges families have in trying to work remotely at home while at the same time working with their own children at home with their own remote learning. I have heard from many parents who now have a better understanding and appreciation of how difficult our jobs as educators are. We know some of you reading this are working on the front lines, and we are truly thankful for all that you are doing to keep people healthy while at the same time sacrificing your own health and the precious time you have with your own families. As a staff, we have also been reminded about how much we appreciate our students and one another. Our students definitely appreciate how much they realize they need Terrace in their lives.
I am hopeful that when we come out on the other side of this that we will all have a little more patience and understanding with one another. We have all been affected in some way during this pandemic. If we can make it through this, we can make it through just about anything. I have decided that I will focus my attention to all that I have learned to appreciate both at school and at home. Every day there are moments to feel grateful for. I will choose to focus on those moments. So when I think back on this time in our lives, rather than being upset about what could have been, I will be reminded of how much I love our students, how much I care about my staff, and how much I appreciate all of you.
I wanted to leave you with one more thing. We know that for our fifth graders who are moving on to middle school next year that this was not the fifth grade year they imagined. We worked hard these past few weeks trying to figure out a way we could honor them. This week our student council arranged to have students send their best wishes to our fifth graders who will be moving on next year. In addition to that, our staff put together a video tribute to our fifth graders.
Please spend some time watching this video tribute to our fifth graders from our staff. Thank you to Mrs. Raczkowski and Mrs. Lopatka of the Terrace News for putting this all together.
Thank you to Mrs. Djurdjevic and Mrs. Sharko of Student Council for putting together a video from our students to our fifth graders. You can click here to watch that video, as well.
Stay safe and healthy, and take care of one another.
Staff News: We have a few staffing changes for next year that I wanted to share with you:
- Mrs. Butera (second grade) has accepted a new position in D62 starting next school year. She will be a behavior specialist with our Student Services Department. We have hired Ms. Bailey Stearns, a recent graduate from University of Wisconsin - Madison, to teach second grade next year.
- Mrs. Staffel (STEP) will be leaving D62 to teach special education students at the high school level next year. Ms. Sophia Sidlowski will be joining us to teach intermediate STEP next year. She comes to us from Algonquin Middle School, where she has taught STEP as well as SPED Resource for the past couple of years.
- Mrs. Curtis will be working full time at Forest next year teaching Literacy. Mrs. Hansen will teaching Literacy at Terrace next year.