Letter to Students 3/27/20

From Ms. Short

Dear Students:

Happy Friday! My wish for you this weekend is to spend some time unplugged from screens, enjoying fresh air and sunshine, and doing something that makes you happy.

I know that Fridays may not have the same happy and energetic zip as they do when we are together at school, but I challenge you to infuse that Friday feeling into today and this weekend as much as possible. Maybe you can video chat with your friends or family? How about watching a movie with your family, or even your friends that you want to video chat, that you’ve been wanting to see. Another idea is to dig into a project, whether it’s a puzzle, painting, photography, songwriting, or even cleaning your room or helping your parents with yard work! Finding a way to reset and regroup is really important, so check in with yourself and see what you need right now to feel like your best self. Help your parents, grandparents, and siblings do this too!

As you learned today, school is closed for two more weeks. Governor Cuomo announced this decision today. He also told us as we approach April 15 he will look at all the information he has and make a decision on whether schools will reopen or will stay closed for longer. I know it’s really hard to not know exactly how the end of this school year is going to go. I think it’s hard too. I know your families do too. There are a lot of unknowns about how long we will need to practice social distancing, but what we do know is that everyone’s health and safety is our priority. We have to do our part to keep each other and all of the people around us safe and healthy, and that means that we have to spend more time apart.

But, the good news is that we are in this together! Everyone at LLCS is thinking of you and is doing everything we can to help you keep learning and growing during this challenging time. The next two weeks will look a lot like the last two weeks have. Your teachers will continue to connect with you over the phone, through Google Classroom and email, and over video chat through Google Meet. You’ll have assignments to complete and we need you to do your best to stay engaged and to keep progressing. Your families will continue to have the opportunity to receive breakfast and lunch deliveries, and our Backpack Program will be delivered on Fridays. And, next week I will continue to do “Digital Lunch Breaks” so that we can see each other and laugh together. I had so much fun with all of you this past week!

As soon as I have more information to share, I will make sure it gets out to you. I know many of you are wondering about spring sports, prom, grades, and Regents exams. If you are in the senior class, I know you are probably thinking, "What about graduation?" We’re all doing the best that we can to make decisions that are best for you and best for the world as a whole. I am in contact with the leaders at the NYS Department of Education, as well as superintendents of neighboring school districts, and we are all hopeful to get back to normal as soon as possible. I will continue to work hard to ask questions for you and to get you answers. It's important to remember that ALL students in New York State are in the same situation.

What your teachers, parents, grandparents, and I need from you is to do your best to complete the assignments that your teachers create for you. Give it your best. Reach out if you need help. Check in on the daily check-in pages. Let us know if you have issues with resources. We have a unique opportunity to know each and every one of you, and to also be there for you in a way that larger school districts would struggle to do. Please keep doing your part as students to ask questions, share your thoughts, show your creativity, produce quality work that you are proud of, and to be a role model for your peers. I know all of the LLCSD teachers are working hard to create assignments and activities that keep you moving forward, and to be assigned in a way that is flexible for your family's needs.

I read something today that really meant a lot to me, and I think it could resonate with you too, and maybe could even create a conversation for you this weekend as you think about what it means to you: “In many ways, our lives are like a movie reel, made up of individual frames and single moments each one leading into the next. Stay in the present moment, the frame you’re in now. That’s the only moment where happiness, joy, and love can be found. And remember to make each moment count.”

It’s hard to not know what’s next. It can be stressful, worrisome, and just make you feel weird and off balance. That’s normal. One way to try and get your bearings in a time like this is to slow down and enjoy what’s in front of you. I know it can be hard to be cooped up in the house right now, but it can also be a time that you get to know your family in a new way. It’s a time where you can get back to basics like playing cards or Chutes and Ladders or your instrument, or drawing in a sketch pad or writing in your journal. It’s also a time that you can help yourself feel better by helping those around you. How could you help your mom and dad or grandma and grandpa to make their life a little easier? Who could you call that you haven’t talked to in awhile to just see how they are?

One area that I'd love to have your help in is a community-wide portfolio of artwork that is created during this time. My idea is to have a collection of all the creations that come out of this strange time. This can be a way for us to come together to transcend this time of disconnect, and can also tell a story in a way that really shares our diverse perspectives. It's just an idea that I've had, so if you have ideas on how to bring this to life, email me. I'd love this to feature student work, but I think teachers, staff, community members are important to include too. And, when I say artwork, please know I say that in the most all-encompassing way possible - music, painting, photography, writing, video, Legos, Minecraft, spoken word, architecture --- whatever your creative outlet is, the only requirement is that it is family friendly and appropriate for all ages to view and it is documented in a way that can be added to our digital portfolio. In a community like Long Lake, with the students, families, teachers, and creative spirits we have among us, this could be really cool!

I am here if you need anything. You can always email me, and I still have the Google Form for questions setup. Try your best to see the positives in this really hard time. They are there if you look for them.

I miss you! I am proud of you! Be good for your parents and grandparents. Be kind to one another. Keep doing your best! And, practice good health hygiene to keep yourself and those around you healthy.


Ms. Short

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Hamilton County Public Health made us a "Toilet Talk" for the month of April! View it digitally, print it out and share it with your family. One of the little things that may help us feel like things aren't so strange right now!