With the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent governmental protocols, the entire district was immersed in developing plans and procedures to deliver the students’ education.

The cliche of “building the plane while flying it” was an accurate assessment under the ever-evolving conditions. Those implications of governmental guidance ultimately impacted the educational process for all of the B-SSD stakeholders. Everyone shouldered into the resolve the ongoing concerns associated with the virus and rose to the occasion.

With all of the groups rallying, collectively they kept the education process moving forward. It was not perfect, nor ideal, and at times frustrating, but students were able to continue learning and advancing their education.

In particular, the students and their parents or guardians were the first group to feel the genuine impact with various models being employed including full closures, hybrid, synchronous and cyber that were all a part of the new educational seascape.

The resilience of the students as well as their parents, who became the at-home teachers, is to be commended as they worked their way through the process together.

Even with frustrations, students and parents continued to persevere and need to be credited for not giving up. Additionally, as school was reconvening in the fall of 2020, parents were also looking to the district for assurances of safety as well as meeting their child’s educational needs.

In the early stages, the teaching staff were thrust into an area of delivering the students education with technology as the medium. Unfamiliar and uncomfortable for some, in due course they knew the students’ education had to be delivered despite the adversity. As the pandemic lingered, supplementary options were on the table which required more flexibility to meet the students’ needs. In January 2021, the staff united to add an after-school credit recovery program to ensure that any students who did fall behind were able to receive additional support to not only recover the credit, but more importantly to gain the required course knowledge.

The paraprofessional roles were vital in supporting both the students as well as teachers. They were positioned to implement safeguards for students to able to access and gain the requisite course knowledge. That effort required not only assisting students to keep up with the current curriculum but also working diligently to provide additional supports when and where necessary.

The office staff at each campus building were tasked with fielding and directing calls from parents looking for answers as the uncertainty of the pandemic raged on month after month.

Beginning in March of 2020 the central office staff and building level administrators met constantly and designed plans, that in the beginning changed on a daily basis due to everchanging circumstances of the virus.

With the fall of 2020 opening, many different educational options were employed to meet the individual student and their family’s educational needs. Due changing governmental guidance, the administrative team was often required to reposition their plans through providing information to the school board of directors for their deliberate decision-making processes. Those decisions were not always popular; however, the board was resolute in being solely focused on providing the safest and best options available for the students. The board understood and embraced those difficult decisions knowing that the educational “buck stops” with their decisive word.

Phil Martell