Crawl, Walk, Then Run

Crawl, Walk, Then Run
Posted on 04/22/2020

Good evening! Hope this finds you and your family well and healthy.

Over the past 43 days, I have reflected a lot on what I read, what I am hearing and learning from the scores of Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts I have attended or led, hundreds of emails and text messages that I receive each day, and on the data presented to me across a wide swath of important topics of the day - connectivity, student participation rates, meals being served, expected revenue losses, just to name a few.

We must be sensitive to what is going on across our community and our country, while being focused on student learning and the instructional environment. The stakes are high, and so is our commitment!. We must begin with the end in mind, and focus on first things first! The first being physical and mental wellness, which is a heavy lift for many right now.

Many of you have shared a snapshot of what family life is like since the stay-at-home order was rendered by the Governor. Thank you for your snapshots, feedback, and questions. What is going on inside the four walls of our homes in Quakertown is unlike any other time in history. Added to the stress of families is their child(ren) participating in educational opportunities until the end of the school year from the kitchen. The concern for missed learning opportunities is real. Resilience and sustaining strong interpersonal relationships are critically important during these tough times.

That is why the philosophy of our instructional approach is to “crawl, walk, then run.” We have emphasized to teachers to do their best and to be patient. We ask all staff members to ask themselves the question, what can I do differently to maximize connections with students and enhance academic recovery? When we left our school buildings on March 13th, most of us never thought we would be out this long, let alone until the end of the school year. Students left lots of their personal belongings and textbooks in their desks and wall lockers, teachers left some instructional materials, and everyone left a little or a lot of themselves behind. What has been wonderful to watch through all of this is the teachers’ passion and creativity to re-engage with their students, their commitment to improving the educational outcomes for this year, and then reintegration back into an instructional model that is familiar to everyone when we are safely able to do so.

A few administrative notes:

  • Last Thursday, the final batch of the 330 refund checks went out to parents for Pay-To-Play reimbursement for the Spring sports season and extracurricular activities. Please let us know if you did not get your reimbursement.
  • We are following the QCSD Academic Year 2019-20 Calendar for the remainder of the year, with one exception. On April 28th, we are scheduled to have a professional development day for teachers with no students attending. Originally, it was Primary Election Day and three of our schools normally host polling places. To maintain continuity for students and families, now April 28th will be a student workday, and the professional development day will occur on Friday, May 1.
  • Speaking of voting, here is the link to register for vote by mail in the rescheduled primary on June 2nd. Please register to vote by mail, and vote!
  • While you are online, please also participate in the 2020 Census! It only happens every 10 years and it takes only seconds to answer the questions. The Quakertown community and Bucks County benefit directly with the allocation of financial resources when everyone who lives here participates. Thank you!
  • The School Board meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening was not needed and has been canceled. There will be a Finance Committee meeting tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM. The next virtual School Board meeting is May 14th.
  • Once the stay-at-home order is lifted, we will announce a plan for students, faculty and staff to return to school to pick up personal items and turn-in textbooks, etc.

To end on a high note, yesterday we received notice from US News & World Report that Quakertown jumped into the top 10% of America's high schools in the country and to number 63 in Pennsylvania in their rankings! Our rank is indicative of the high quality of our curriculum, instruction by our teachers, and student participation and performance at all levels. We are incredibly proud of our students, faculty and staff, and the Quakertown Community that supports our work. We are privileged to serve!

Thank you for reading! Have a good night.

Bill Harner

Superintendent

Email: wharner@qcsd.org

Twitter: @billharner

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