During staff meetings at the beginning of this school year, we discussed the importance of social-emotional learning, and the need to support our students emotionally so that they may thrive academically.  In the past few weeks, I have spoken with our administrators and counselors about how we can continue to help our staff grow in their ability to serve the emotional needs of our students.  I have also been reading news articles and studies regarding the health and well-being of educators, and the added stress placed upon them as the list of demands placed upon them gets longer and longer.  Emotional challenges for our students have multiplied due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and in turn, the pressure placed upon our staff members has never been more intense.  While the challenges are many, I am so proud of our staff members and the relationships they have maintained with our students to allow them to grow academically and emotionally during tough times.

At this time last year, we were experiencing one of our most challenging months, as our COVID-19 cases were increasing and we were taking actions like suspending activities.  Thanksgiving celebrations were either canceled or greatly modified as we all worked to remain safe and healthy.  While we are inching closer to a more normal life, we are still working to fully recover from the impact of the pandemic.  For our students, it is continuing to work through academic and emotional challenges caused by the pandemic.  For our staff, it is working our students through those challenges while also taking care of themselves and their loved ones.  For our families, the balancing act continues as all of you continue to focus on health and safety while also trying to maintain a sense of normal as much as possible.  

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be part of a special community that takes care of one another.  I am thankful for staff members who continue to meet and exceed the expectations placed upon them.  I am thankful for students who continue to be resilient, and who continue to grow.  I am thankful for parents and families who continue to partner with us in our quest to do our best for our students.  I am thankful that Mount Vernon accepts the challenge to be united in the cause of taking care of one another.  

Happy Thanksgiving, Mount Vernon!