What You’re Grateful for in 2020

Frontline

How are you doing?

It’s not the easiest question to answer in 2020. If you could use a boost of joy, just keep reading.

Over the past few months, administrators and educators in K-12 shared what has kept them going in one of the most challenging years for education. A few themes emerged, but it all comes back to people: from students to custodians, from principals to speech pathologists, and everyone in between.

There were too many responses to share them all, but here are a few of our favorites.

Staff

“I am grateful for the support of our maintenance and operation and custodial care teams. They are helping us prepare to open for child care. They have moved furniture, deep cleaned learning environments, and so much more.”

“This trying time has had silver linings. It has drawn our already close school team closer together in support of one another. It has also exposed the gifts and talents of our district’s IT and Special Education departments, who work tirelessly and who are the epitome of working creatively and collaboratively to address complex and ever-changing needs.”

“Seeing the creativity and ingenuity or our staff has been encouraging and empowering. In a time when we could have thrown ourselves the world’s biggest pity party, I am seeing teachers come together to collaborate, learn, and grow. Although many parents are frustrated, I have seen an outpouring of gratitude from parents regarding the work that teachers are doing to make remote learning possible.”


“This unprecedented circumstance has highlighted new methodology on service provision in the digital age and has really highlighted the creativity of our service providers in our district.”


“We have the most cooperative and caring facility managers and staff. They are on the front lines and do an amazing job while maintaining an upbeat attitude.”

Administration

“I am grateful for the leadership support and PPE provided to make our jobs safer. Teamwork and trying to get through this together.”


“My school is offering free virtual yoga sessions.


“All stakeholders have been proactive, thoughtful, and strategic and implementing social and emotional strategies for all!”

“My school has given all staff a mask with the school mascot.”

“My superintendent has been very cautious about the possible exposure of staff and students to the virus. She tries to ensure that the staff has a safe environment in which to teach and that children get the best possible education during this crisis.”

“The administrators at my school are giving very careful consideration to decisions that are made and are working together collaboratively with all. The strength of unity has emerged clearly out of the crisis as everyone strives to do what’s best for students, staff, and families.”

“My school principal has gone to great lengths to make the school safe and accommodating to staff and students.”

“My husband has stage IV colon cancer, and so I have been concerned about his being compromised because of his chemotherapy. The district gave me an office that goes right outside so I don’t have to walk through the main entry where pre-K–4th graders will be.”

Technology

“I loved our small setting for our high school students’ graduation and how we used social media to highlight every senior.


“I grew closer to students and parents via Zoom. We celebrated the new normal.”


“I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about and be creative with technology. Along with that, the support of my colleagues in teaching me and listening to my ideas when I teach them has been refreshing. The focus has really been on what can we do that would make this the best for the students!”

“I’m grateful for the communication that is happening within my district. In fact, our community has embraced (and is having some fun with!) the frequent phone calls we get with updates and new information. Zoom goes down and we get a call; Zoom goes back up and we get a call. Before 2020, we pretty much only got calls when it was about to be a snow day, but now our Chief Communications Officer is a busy, busy man.”

“Some students with attentional issues in school have done better on Zoom because there are fewer distractions.”

“We all learned and updated our expertise with technology and realized the importance of social interaction — not just for students, but staff, too.”

Teachers

“The dedication of all educators.”

“I’m thankful that the teachers have been flexible and have risen to the challenges of reaching out to students in a variety of ways.”


“Teachers are getting creative.”


“Our teachers who instruct students with significant support needs have been amazing. We have established re-opening committees, and they have been so creative. It’s a pleasure to work with dedicated professionals!”

“Our teachers are so concerned about providing the best for our students. They inspire me every day. They make me feel that we can get through this.

“I’m grateful that teachers are so receptive to learning new ways to teach.”

Parents & Students

“Parent engagement is at an all-time high as school staff has focused on connecting with families and building relationships.”

“As I walk past rooms where virtual instruction is taking place, hearing the students respond sometimes with laughter (when appropriate).”

“The ability to educate our students remotely. Definitely a learning curve; nonetheless, students see our passion to teach, and that energizes them.”


“We have students back in our schools! Missed them!”


“I am grateful for opportunities to provide both face-to-face and remote opportunities for students and their families. I was able to observe an early intervention for a two-year-old and was amazed by her focus and fine motor abilities. She was asked to string wooden beads, and when she approached the task she licked the string as if threading a needle like her grandma does when she sews for the family. It made me SMILE!”

“Parents are quite cooperative with the new models of learning that our schools are trying to implement.”

I have seen students who are timid and shy type in a question. I have seen virtual choir and band performances that bring good cheer. I have seen staff gather on buses to deliver food and supplies to it students’ homes. I have seen a coming together in some respects like never before! There is also more focus on the little things that seem to matter more.”

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how grateful we are for you. You show up every day for the kids, teachers, and colleagues who depend on you. Thank you.

Elise Ozarowski

Elise is a writer and member of the award-winning content team at Frontline Education. A former member of Frontline’s events team, she is passionate about making connections, whether that be in person at events, online via social media or directly in her writing.