Fr. Jack Flaherty is the pastor of All Saints Catholic Church and School in Cedar Rapids, and this past weekend he delivered a message to people in the parish regarding the start of the school year.  He joked that parents will mess things up with the drop-off and pick-lines, kids will be running around in every direction driving everyone crazy, and while there is a lot of excitement there is also a lot of stress for families.  Ultimately, Fr. Jack urged everyone to approach their fellow human beings this school year with patience, love, and forgiveness.  This really resonated with me as I reflected on the beginning of this school year.  We have all been through a few tough years, but we have worked through the tough times together.  Education faces challenges the likes I have not seen in my thirty nine years in the field, yet we have a wonderfully talented and dedicated staff eager for the school year to start on Tuesday.  And we are so lucky to live in a community that supports its schools, and supports one another.  While challenges remain, there is every reason for us to feel optimistic about having a great year.

Here are a few things to know as we start this year.  We are fully staffed with teachers, and I am thoroughly impressed with the new teachers who are joining our already phenomenal staff.  We have a few support staff positions to fill, and are in the process of getting those positions taken care of.  COVID-19 is still hanging around; and please remember that if a student or staff member tests positive that they should remain out of school for at least five days from the onset of symptoms, and to wear a mask for another five days if returning to the school setting including involvement in extracurricular activities.  You may also remain at home for days 6-10 if you are not comfortable with wearing a mask during days 6-10.  Please contact our nurses if you have any questions.  Finally, with the price of most everything including school supplies costing more this year, please reach out to our schools if you need assistance with purchasing the needed supplies.

I have shared with numerous people over my years in education that schools are intensely human enterprises.  Emotions run high when the main focus is on your precious children, and as a district we do not take that responsibility lightly.  I am asking our staff to exhibit patience, love, and forgiveness in all we do this year.  Parents, I am asking you to do the same as we partner together to serve your children.  Community members, you remain a positive and important part in supporting us in fulfilling our mission.  We are Mount Vernon, and we can do great things together if we hang together during the good times and the hard times.  Here’s to a great 2022-2023 school year!

Dr. B.