Message from Board President Bruno

First Day of School - August 21, 2020

Dear D41 Community, clic para español

While recently walking the dogs around the neighborhood one delightful evening, I heard a very upbeat father yell to me from the porch that his child was all set for online learning. On another sojourn though the community, a mother sitting on her front steps called out to me that her kids would make remote learning work. I know it's only two cases and I’m certain these folks would prefer schooling happened without a pandemic, but it occurred to me that their perspective was a healthy and encouraging one.

We’re starting school and looking forward to educating all children. Everyone has worked extensively to be ready to welcome all kids to their virtual classrooms. I’m certain that every parent has also made plans for the start of the school year. Undoubtedly, for many, sacrifices were made. The efforts of many people, including our parents will unquestionably be powerful factors in how successful we are in conducting online learning this fall.

The format is unlike anything we’ve done before but make no mistake about it; teaching and learning will happen every day. I know that this fall will present parents and their children with specific logistical challenges. It is why the District has done so much work to prepare to first teach online and then move incrementally into a hybrid mix of in-person and online instruction.

I know not all parents have the same level of confidence about how their child or children will do over the next few weeks. I imagine some parents are even less sure how effective they will be helping their children with the technology (I have been known to shut down entire online systems with one tap on the keyboard!). But what those two parents spontaneously expressed to me from their doorstep was that there was a spirit in this community to adapt to an unusual situation and an optimistic attitude about their children’s ability to learn.

Certainly there will be hiccups and gremlins that haunt the system. In truth, the first two weeks of school under the most normal conditions are usually a mix-bag of ups and downs. And then things settle down, and everyone begins to finds a groove.

The District and the School Board will continue to be very attentive to how remote learning is unfolding. We will also be grappling with the emerging health data. We will regularly re-evaluate the conditions for a return to in-person instruction. While this is being done, I encourage you to have confidence that your child will be successful. Where issues arise let the right person know, but please do so with a degree of grace and appreciation for the school employees that remain fully committed to educating all of our children.

Like the start of any school year, there is much anticipation about what children will discover. What will they find worthy of inquiry? What unlocks their curiosity to learn for a lifetime? Whatever the answers, I am certain that in every grade and classroom there will be parents and District employees guiding children toward a better future.

Since last spring parents and school staff have been a source of generosity, forbearance and hard work. Now, the next phase of our work begins. We embrace it together with an open heart and a reflective mind. We are truly fortunate to be part of a community that embraces its schools and is committed to the well being of all kids.

Thank you and welcome to a new school year!
Dr. Robert Bruno
District 41 Board of Education