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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
Silver linings give us hope during a pandemic
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
Throughout the pandemic, ACSA has worked to identify the complexities our members and students are facing while also offering hope. We have encouraged our members to turn these challenges into opportunities, and our partners, like Flip Flippen, have attempted to help us “reframe” this crisis.
We continue to accomplish milestones that will not only benefit public education for many years to come, but our society as well. Our last two strategic plans have called on ACSA to develop more distance learning opportunities for our members. We built an infrastructure for distance learning and started developing asynchronous content. When the pandemic hit, we were forced to expedite our work lest our members be left without the capacity-building opportunities that are especially important in difficult times.
Our Educational Services team and membership have developed online Academies that launched in the fall. This year we have 29 online learning opportunities with more participants than last year. Our members have reported that while they like meeting in-person, they have appreciated not having the cost and inconvenience of traveling, and they value staying closer to work and home while learning and building networks.
We have also successfully hosted multiple institutes and conferences online. Even though online learning is new to us, our Personnel Institute had almost as many participants as last year and had the same quality of learning opportunities provided by members, experts and our legal partners — Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo; Fagen, Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost; and Lozano Smith.
We recently concluded our first virtual ACSA Leadership Summit to great reviews. 637 members participated in 50 pre-recorded and live sessions, 20 hours of live content, several engaging Partner4Purpose sessions, online social membership gatherings, the ACSA Statewide Awards and the Every Student Succeeding recognition.
These events have demonstrated that we can successfully host large online learning opportunities and will allow us to innovate in future years and bring more online and hybrid professional development to our members.
Out of necessity, California districts and counties have narrowed the digital divide and provided distance learning and support services to students and families. These resources and innovations will help our schools better engage students, mitigate loss of learning and reduce absenteeism for years to come.
There is no denying that this pandemic has been physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially destructive, but our system has a chance to be better based on everything we have learned.
We are in the midst of an unprecedentedly divisive election. Regardless of our political affiliations, we have to be encouraged by the historic increases in voter registration and participation. Turnout numbers are expected to be the highest since 1908 with increases in Black and LatinX voters over the last presidential election.
Our global community is on pace to increase major vaccine creation and approval by 75 percent, a 14-year-old student in Texas discovered a potential cure for COVID-19, and the doctor who saved my life recently called me to share that his 88-year-old mother, who bought her first computer before the pandemic, invited him to a Zoom meeting recently and chose, upon his arrival, a virtual background of an Irish pub. When the doctor asked his mom how she figured out the virtual background function, she said, “YouTube.”
I am in no way downplaying the loss of life, the negative impact on social and emotional wellness, or the financial and associated hardships caused by this pandemic. What I am saying is that there are hope-inspiring silver linings all around us. And even a small measure of hope is exactly what we need to give our society and our public education system the strength to keep fighting on!
From the Executive Director
November 16, 2020
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