Proactive Leadership is Needed Now More Than Ever
I decided to write this blog to clarify my position and detail out the reasons for my frustrations. This is a very emotional and stressful time for all and both teachers and parents are desperate to find some form of guidance and direction. I understand I may have come off as antagonistic and for that I apologize. My frustrations have little to do with my personal situation as I am lucky enough to be able to take my kids to work, I have help at home when needed and I have a stable income with lots of flexibility in my work schedule. Whatever academic scenario my kids are placed in, I am convinced they will be fine because they have constant help and support. This is not about me or my family, it is about those who don’t have my work flexibility or income. This is about single mothers who don’t have the means for childcare and do not have the opportunity to work from home or adjust their work schedule. How do they manage virtual learning for their children? My frustration is about every child with special needs who require an in-person social settings to thrive and rely on their special needs teacher to help them succeed academically. Where do those kids fit into virtual learning? Virtual learning does not help those who depend on school breakfast and lunches for meals, or the school walls for protection and their teachers for support. Protection and support are not going to be achieved through a computer screen. This is not about boredom; this is about the more than 10,000 kids in AZ who are homeless and attend public schools (Arizona Homelessness Statistics, n.d.) Those kids have not been given the voice they deserve and are worth fighting for; those who do not have the luxury to sit at home in quarantine but instead are fighting for personal survival. They are the reason I am coming off harsh.
While listening to the most recent emergency session board meeting, I found myself asking why is the board working toward solutions now? The formation of a team with “resident experts” is a great idea but why is the board and Superintendent just forming this team now? Did they think the Covid-19 virus was just going to disappear and all would be well come August? Dr. Reynolds suggested delaying in-person classes till after Labor Day, to allow more time for teachers and staff training. Again, why does it seem like the district is scrambling to find enough time for virtual platform staff training? Has the district not been preparing for this exact scenario since March? During the meeting, many of the board members referenced multiple times the need to rely on data for decision making; what data are you relying on? Finally, benchmarks; the board needs to wait for Governor Ducey to release benchmarks before the can proceed with, well, ANYTHING it seems. Does the board really think Governor Ducey is going to have some groundbreaking information for common sense health measures? The CDC released a detailed guideline for operating schools during Covid-19 back in May and just a few days ago released a detailed safe return guideline for schools and administrators (Preparing K-12 School, n.d.). What more does the Superintendent need? The lack of leadership by this board and their inability to be proactive is astounding to me! One issue after another, this school board has demonstrated their solution to problem solving is to sit on the sidelines and play the waiting game while others suffer! If these board members do not have the strength to use their platform for actual decision making, then our community needs to find someone who will!
Arizona Homelessness Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2020, from https://www.usich.gov/homelessness-statistics/az/
Preparing K-12 School Administrators for a Safe Return to School in Fall 2020. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/prepare-safe-return.html