Around this time last March, the Mariemont City School district began making preparations for a potential pandemic and the effect it may have on teaching and learning in our schools. Very little was known about the impact this impending virus could have on our school district, community, and even the world. We put together contingency plans with the hope that it wouldn’t be as bad as they said – and then on March 12, 2020, things changed and the impact became real.
On that day, Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced an extended school closure for all Ohio schools because of COVID-19 and its continued spread. Our district, like most across the country, was immediately introduced to the world of remote learning. Of course, this instructional switch happened with the hope that we could get our students back in the classroom by April, if only we knew then what we know now.
When I look back at Mariemont City Schools over the last year I am amazed by so many things, but none more than the dedication and willingness of our staff to learn and shift and just keep moving. I have said this before but it simply cannot be overstated, we have amazing staff in our district. Between remote learning, hybrid learning, social distancing, mask wearing, morning temperature checks and whatever else was thrown at them, they continue to show up and step up for their students. I hope you can find the time to appreciate and thank a teacher, counselor, aide, coach, bus driver, etc. for their hard work over the past year.
I also am in awe of our students and the perseverance they have demonstrated this year. Nothing about this year has been “normal” but our students seem to take each change and pivot in stride. I know I can speak for many of us when I say that seeing our students’ smiling faces (underneath the masks!) is what keeps us going day in and day out.
What also amazes me is our district’s ability to protect the student experience. The health and safety of our students and staff have always been our top priority, but being able to provide academic continuity for our kids has been a close second. While so many neighboring districts kept their doors closed this year, we banned together and found a way to welcome our students back, and that has made all of the difference.
But on top of simply being in school, our staff, students and community have worked hard to keep the Mariemont Experience alive in an otherwise tumultuous year. Athletics teams are playing full seasons of competition while our arts programs are streaming concerts to live audiences. And we are even bringing back our award-winning Warriors BEyond experiential learning program for all buildings during the final quarter of the school year.
But while things are progressing now, we know there is a lot of work ahead of us. We are currently developing a plan to assess the impact that the pandemic has had on our students and classrooms over the past year in our school district. We are analyzing data, looking for any gaps and noting indicators we are not meeting. All of this will be used to build our action plan moving forward as we look to reboot for the 2021-2022 school year.
I know this past year has been unlike anything we could have predicted, but I also think Mariemont City Schools is in a pretty good spot. I am proud of our actions this past year and truly believe that the response from our staff, students and community has set us up for continued success in the future.