A new school year inspires all of us. New backpacks, school supplies, clothes, and butterflies of anxiety and excitement are shared experiences across generations. It is the beginning of another adventure filled with so much promise.
STEM’s faculty prepared their rooms and reviewed their learning goals this week for a successful launch. The positive energy in the school is palpable. We are ready to get back to school with our newfound gratitude for being together for in-person learning. As you can imagine, a week of learning everything there is to know about STEM for our new and returning teachers is never enough time, so our Teacher Support Team will continue to provide support to them as they begin their journey in the classroom.
This is a stressful time of year for our families and students as they try to get organized and find everything they need to know to launch the year successfully. It is also a stressful time for our staff because we want to make sure that we are responding and helping our community as best as we can. Coming together to support one another is crucial during this time. Leaning into giving grace, patience and understanding is going to be key to making sure that students, teachers, staff and our school leaders start off on the right foot. Consider your contribution to the successful launch of the year. How will you be a part of #STEMStrongerTogether?
COVID and Masks
Masking remains a polarizing issue throughout the country. At STEM, we will leave the decision to our families. Some of our staff choose to mask to protect medically at-risk family members, personal health risks or for many other reasons. We noticed a significant number of students K-12 wore masks these past few days when they were visiting STEM. As mentioned in the last newsletter, I plan to wear a mask when visiting classrooms to protect myself and to also help to remain free of cold and flu germs. The unintended consequence of wearing a mask last year was reduced allergies from pollen and weeds, no colds or other typical school nuisance infections.
STEM anticipates some families will be disappointed with the optional mask policy. We will run a quick survey to capture the distribution in a few weeks. This information will help guide us on possible future options.
STEM monitors several sources of ever-changing recommendations. As a public school, the guidance from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) keeps public schools in compliance with the latest information. The Governor and health department work closely with CDE to give schools a uniform message.
With emerging Covid variants, requirements for public schools might change. Our goal is to remain in person. If masks keep STEM in-person, it will be a small concession. If the under 11 years of age students must wear a mask because of their inability to be vaccinated, most of us will wear a mask in solidarity. So many decisions ahead for 2021-22 so we will have to remain agile. I invite you to join us in keeping the focus on the value of being in-person and allow the challenges that emerge to be efficiently overcome without undue disruption.
To help our staff come together to build relationships and staff culture, our Elementary School Director, LynAnn Kovalesky got the entire staff on board with envisioning this school year as a white-water rafting trip. In order to get through to the end, the team in the raft needs to row together and be in sync. Leaning on each other’s strengths and helping support others when they need it will be the key to making it through. We will have obstacles as the year goes on, but with our entire #STEMStrongerTogether community in the raft, we will get through it together. If being in-person is the destination, we will all have to work together in our raft to navigate around the many obstacles that will challenge our progress.
We are #STEMStongerTogether,
P.J. Eucker PhD