Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year
Dear Avondale Community,
We are embarking on the start of a school year that will be different in many ways from all other starts to a new year. Concerns over the health and safety of our students and staff members in this time of pandemic have set us on a course of remote learning for the first ten weeks of the 2020-21 school year. The journey will challenge our creativity and innovation and even our patience at times, but it is a challenge that I believe we are uniquely prepared to meet and I say that with confidence. We have some of the most knowledgeable, resourceful, and hardworking administrators and staff members that can be found anywhere.
In speaking with our administrative team, I’ve learned that many of our teaching staff has been engaged over the past weeks in writing lessons that can be delivered remotely and meaningfully. Lessons designed to not only meet state education standards but also engage our students in the act of learning and capture and keep their attention. Staff members have also been researching best practices and resources to equip their teaching tool bags with new strategies and methods for teaching and learning in the remote environment. Through the work of our district-wide planning committees, they’ve teamed with families to discuss and plan for a variety of scenarios that may be obstacles to student success. Their collaborative and intentional work gives me confidence that we will see our students through this difficult and challenging time.
Feedback about our remote teaching and learning experience in the spring indicated that though there were families that were frustrated during that time, most parents recognized and appreciated the obvious care and commitment of our teachers. As we were thrust into remote learning in the spring, with little time to plan, we recognize that there are changes and improvements that need to be made as we tighten up our plans for fall. We have spent time evaluating that effort and anticipating obstacles based upon that experience. With parents, staff and administrator input through the planning committees, we have and will continue to examine our work ensuring that it is realistic and relevant to student success.
As we move forward, I am optimistic that the remote learning experience that we have planned for our students will result in student growth in academics and social-emotional learning. In addition, we will work to preserve the sense of community that has long been the Avondale hallmark.
Communication will be an important tool for all of us to stay connected over the next few months so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns. When this blog opened, I mentioned that the start to this school year will be different in many ways.
I know that it will be the same in many ways too - we will continue to focus on student growth and we will work hard to stay connected to our students and their families. Connections have always been the key to our students’ successes and our success as a district. It is what sets us apart.
Dr. James V. Schwarz, Avondale School District Superintendent