Staff and students are in the second half of the 2021-22 school year, and school district leaders across the region hope the year ends with continued in-person learning and engagement from students, parents, and Staff.
“The number of cases continues to improve,” Beaver Dam Unified School District Superintendent Mark DiStefano said. “Our increase in cases this winter reflects much of what has been seen across the county, state and nation. We are always mindful of the well-being of our students, staff, families and community. »
DiStefano said the district will continue to monitor cases with new information and work to make the educational experience for students as normal as possible.
“We need parents to continue to support and encourage the focus on their child’s school experiences,” DiStefano said. “Most of the students have made a wonderful adjustment over the past few months and rekindled their skills and commitment. Doing all we can as parents and as a community to help our children focus on the value and opportunities our children have when they come to school is more important than ever.
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Waupun Area School District Superintendent Steven Hill said he agrees the number of COVID cases is improving, but said there is still a need for people to be cautious.
“We had some flu issues that affected us and almost had to shut down due to understaffing,” Hill said. “I want to remind everyone that our schools cannot stay open when we have sick staff at home, so their decision to send a sick child to school has an impact on the whole community.”
Hill said the district is pleased to see student growth in the first semester as schools continue to open.
“Our great staff have created strong relationships and our students are thriving in their studies,” Hill said. “Socio-emotional needs continue to be a challenge for some of our students. Many students are struggling with pandemic-related issues at home that are impacting their lives. Families may be unemployed or underemployed, lack quality health care, be unable to take sick leave or have other concerns. Our fantastic staff are here to help students overcome these challenges.
Hill said parents who meet their students’ social-emotional needs can help them do their best at school, and they can do something to make staff feel appreciated, too.
“Share a note of appreciation with the adults your child interacts with on a daily basis,” Hill said. “Our staff have risen to the challenge of keeping our schools open while providing an exceptional education during difficult times, and a note of appreciation would be wonderful.”
Hill said there has been an incredible partnership between public schools and Dodge County Public Health.
Cambria-Friesland Superintendent Tim Raymond said such a rollercoaster year can take a toll on students and their mental health.
“This year has been an even bigger challenge than last year,” Raymond said. “Removing COVID-19 mitigation strategies such as mandatory masking and social distancing has opened the door to greater exposure to the disease. The high rate of student and staff absences has made inconsistency the new norm. But as we shared, we just have to keep finding ways to provide the best education for all students.
Fall River Superintendent Dennis Birr said it was wonderful to have students in the building every day, but they really didn’t miss many days last year either.
“I think it helped them keep up with their studies and stay in touch with the staff and other students who care about them,” Birr said.
Horicon School District Superintendent Rich Appel echoed the fact that there hasn’t been a need to make any changes yet and he thinks students are happy to attend classes in person. One of the biggest issues is staff.
“We’ve added two permanent substitute teachers to address the lack of coverage when a teacher is away,” Appel said. “Our staff have been amazing with their willingness to always cover lessons with children. We need that to change soon as I don’t think we can maintain this pace for our staff. I want our teachers to be able to prepare and instruct their our own curriculum and courses and for our students to consistently receive this quality education. I hope these will be positive changes for the 2nd semester.
Appel said there are specific things parents can do to help end the school year well, including:
• Continue to support us in our efforts to challenge our students to push themselves to improve in all areas.
• Work with us to help our students grow academically and socially.
• We ALL have the same goals of helping our young people grow into caring, responsible and educated adults.
• Keep your children home when they are sick
“When we’re all on the same team and when we work together to push, encourage and support our kids, we’ll see incredible results,” Appel said. “We believe in our children.”
Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.