On June 17, ConVal teachers, staff, and administrators got together for an outdoor meeting on the high school athletic fields.
School Board Chair Tim Theberge thanked everyone for the extraordinary efforts everyone had undertaken during the past 15 months as the District switched from distance learning in the spring to learning indoors and outdoors in the fall, negotiating new technologies and teaching both in person and via remote connections simultaneously.
Special gratitude was expressed to the COVID-19 monitoring team who received a standing ovation. The team is a volunteer task force made up of local medical doctors, school staff, hospital personnel, county administration, and local public health officers. Throughout the past school year, the members had met daily for an hour in the morning to review the latest public health data and to advise the district on how to adapt to the constantly evolving circumstances of the pandemic.
Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Rizzo Saunders summed up the year with these words: “To say this was a difficult year would be an understatement. So, I will forgo the clichés of ‘it always seems impossible until it is done’ or ‘what does not kill us makes us stronger,’ because frankly, after this year, we are beyond the comfort that a quote or sage wisdom can bring.”
“When we first began this journey 18 months ago, I watched teachers and staff members and heard them doubt themselves,” Dr. Rizzo Saunders continued. “They asked questions about their own skills, their own abilities. ‘Am I able to engage students this way? Am I capable of using technology this way? Am I able to muster the fortitude to do this well?’ … The answer was: Yes, you are.”
“I feel privileged that I was able to bear witness to what you have accomplished, as individuals and as a collective. The kindness you showed, the fortitude you modeled, the unyielding spirit that you demonstrated, and the unrelenting commitment you showed .. not only for yourself, but for our District.”
“Your actions, in the face of what appeared to be insurmountable challenge after insurmountable challenge, were simple, powerful, and perfect,” Dr. Rizzo Saunders concluded.