Access Affton

A Publication of the Affton School District

Update for Families | September 13, 2020

Update for Families | September 11, 2020

From the Superintendent: Operating in a VUCA World

Last month on two separate occasions I came across an acronym that I had never heard before, VUCA. It appeared on the cover of the August issue of School Administrator magazine and was highlighted during a webinar from Education Advisory Board. VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.

In both instances, VUCA was explained as originating in the U.S. Army War College to describe the state of the world after the Cold War. The concept has come to characterize the rapid pace of change in every sector of society and the new skills required to lead organizations effectively.

In K-12 education during COVID-19, we are trying to balance the deployment of familiar practices that have worked in the past with the unfamiliar reality of the future. The difficult task is to quickly scale up new practices for learning environments that have changed dramatically. Even when the opportunity arises to return to in-person learning it will not be as familiar as we might like. Thus we will enter into a new phase of adapting familiar practices into another unfamiliar scenario.

As we think about the VUCA concept I wanted to share a few items that stuck out to me from the article.

  1. Volatility managed by vision. We need to be clear about where the district is going and what it’s about.
  2. Uncertainty managed by understanding. We understand our district’s strengths and capabilities and design strategies to maximize those strengths.
  3. Complexity managed by courage. Courageous leaders make bold moves with vision and understanding.
  4. Ambiguity managed by agility. Leaders are flexible and move quickly. They understand innovation, take risks, collaborate, reflect, and listen to differing opinions.

I appreciate the patience and understanding that our families have demonstrated as the school year begins. Overall, we have experienced a number of successes and the efforts of our parents and caregivers have not gone unnoticed. At the same time, we know that a great school year takes more than a few good weeks. I think it would be an understatement to say this year will be a marathon and not a sprint.

In order to meet the demands this school year will bring, we must take action without overreacting and we must settle on specific approaches without becoming complacent. This will be a constant theme as we navigate volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous circumstances throughout the school year. This year, more than ever, we will need to be future-focused and spend more time looking forward than back. I know it will be tough but I look forward to meeting these challenges with you.

Don't Forget to Join the Conversation

Thanks to all of you who have shared your thoughts and rated others! We'd love to learn more -- the conversation in Thoughtexchange will continue through Thursday, September 17.

What are the most important things our school and district needs to think about as we continue to respond to COVID-19 and plan for the future?

  • You also don't have to leave a thought to see what others are saying, just hit "Star" at the bottom right of the screen.

  • Rate as many (or as few) thoughts as you'd like, but we recommend rating up to 30 thoughts. The more ideas you rate, the clearer the priorities of our community become.

Click here to join the conversation today:

This Season a Flu Vaccine is More Important than Ever!

Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during the 2020-2021 school year to protect yourself, your family, and your community from flu. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for the care of COVID-19 patients.

The more people vaccinated; the more people protected. Do your part. Get a flu vaccine this fall.

Click here a fact sheet and here for important information on influenza from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Canvas Webinar

ICYMI: Here's the recording of our What Every Parent Needs to Know About Canvas webinar from Wednesday, September 9. Dr. Chris McGee and the Learning Team shared a walkthrough on Canvas, our district's learning management system (LMS), as well as answered some frequently asked questions.

You can find additional resources and information on support on our website:

For help creating your parent account in Canvas, please send 1) Parent Email, 2) Parent's First Initial and Last Name, and 3) Your Student's Names and Grades to

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Canvas Webinar

Grab & Go Meals

GOOD NEWS! We are happy to share that the USDA has extended the Summer Feeding Program for all children up to 18 years of age through December 31, 2020. This means all Affton School District students can receive meals at no cost -- and with no PIN number needed!

Grab & Go is from 11:30 am-12:30 pm on Monday and Wednesday each week. Breakfast and lunch for 2 days will be provided on Mondays and 3 days will be provided on Wednesdays at all pickup locations. All meals provided free of charge.

COVID-19 Helpline

We know you have a lot of questions and appreciate your patience and understanding as we make difficult decisions amidst these unusual and evolving circumstances. We will continue to communicate with you as more is learned and additional decisions are made.

Please reach out with your questions or concerns at or by calling the Affton Schools COVID-19 Helpline at 314-633-5911.