Message from Board President Bruno
May 12, 2020
Dear Parents, (clic para español)
In contemplating the appropriate words to express to you I’m mindful that we continue to live during the worst public health crisis in our lifetime. As the pandemic has expanded it is likely that many of you directly or by association experienced a form of painful loss. Let me acknowledge that possibility and offer you my sincere regret for any hardship you have endured. None of us are untouched by the anxiety, fear and frustration of a destructive worldwide pandemic. We are truly together in unprecedented times.
As you know our schools remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. Just two months ago the reality of conducting school without schools seemed unimaginable. But here we are. Likewise, just a few weeks ago constructing a form of remote learning on a massive scale to fully replace classroom teaching was an alien concept. But here we are. As we ushered in the new school year, learning exclusively by opening computer laptops and shutting school doors was unforeseen. But again, here we are. We have all been asked to do school in ways that no one could be prepared for or would ever recommend.
While the real time effort to build remote teaching capacity is ongoing, I am very aware of the challenges that this moment presents to you. When the Governor ordered schools and businesses closed, your life was dramatically impacted. Many of you have seen the boundaries of separate spheres of work and family collapse. You’re now working at home while at the same time helping to some extent with your children’s learning. Certainly some of you bear the added burden of assisting your children to complete assignments while also confronted with lost earnings. And still some of you have been asked to set aside valued volunteer activities to assume an outsized daily role in your children’s education. We know you were always involved in their learning; it just never felt so all encompassing.
You have undoubtedly worked hard to create a thriving learning environment for your children. For some of you the demands have been too onerous; for others it was less than what you desired. It is likely that most of you have found a balance. However, no matter what your reactions to the school closure were, I’m certain over these past weeks you have felt emotional exhaustion. It may be hard in the midst of this unprecedented situation to appreciate the good that your sacrifice has made. Perhaps, it is difficult to see anything but loss. Let me suggest an alternative perspective.
Along with the hard work of our teachers and staff, your commitment to your child’s wellbeing provides ample reason for optimism. Now, more so than ever we embrace and take comfort in the fundamental truth that learning requires a partnership between schools and community members. Your efforts to keep your children safe and engaged with learning are not without long-term reward. I know there is a need for some kind of closure to this year along with urgency to prepare for the next. We desire to know what the fall will look like while uncertainty abounds. Despite the future’s opaqueness, at some point schools will most certainly reopen. Frankly, they will likely begin again in forms that are not completely familiar to us. However, when we go back to school your children will carry with them the positive way that they have experienced the last third of this school year. And when we next welcome your children through the schoolhouse doors they will not only be ready to learn but we will do what we are uniquely equipped to do; emotionally embrace and cognitively enrich every student.
We all miss school. Kids actually want to go. Imagine that? It provides organization and structure to our days. Kids learn at school, but their physical and emotional well-being are also nourished when we gather at Churchill, Lincoln, Ben Franklin, Forest Glen, and Hadley. These schools are the heart of our communal body. They anchor our communities. There is no replacement for engaged parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, social workers, administrative staff and principals.
With your loving guidance we will continue to work diligently to lift every kid up, to give their dreams flight, to overcome hardship and to inspire that great hope that lies within children, to live a purposeful life.
Let me close with a personal reflection that expresses our relationship.
I often find inspiration and strength in music. Coming from a working-class town, Bruce Springsteen speaks powerfully to my sense of struggle, community, and the invincible power of hope. In a song titled, “Land of Hope and Dreams,” is the following stanza:
You'll need a good companion
For this part of the ride
Leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Tomorrow there'll be sunshine
And all this darkness past
For the good of our children, let’s be good companions to each other.
Dr. Robert Bruno
Glen Ellyn School District 41
Board of Education