We must maintain connections during uncertain times
From the ACSA President, Ron Williams
July 27, 2020
We hope this article finds you and your loved ones safe and in good health. Without question, these are unprecedented times in education, public health, social discourse, and economic well-being. The COVID-19 crisis has challenged many of our traditional methods and assumptions regarding education and educational delivery. We have developed and adapted to new models of teaching and learning. The 2020-21 school year opens new doors and opportunities never imagined to redesign, redefine, and reimagine our educational practices.   As we entertain these new opportunities, we should be mindful of the past and use our creative imagination to envision a future where brick and mortar represents the foundation rather than the status-quo operations we knew in March 2020. The best practices developed by combining 21st-century invention with mindful intention can forever favorably alter the public education landscape. Although the doors to this breakthrough opportunity are narrow, the return on leadership can springboard the value-added proposition, underscoring the fact that leadership truly matters.  Our classrooms and programs’ primary focuses must be safe, healthy, and inviting learning communities to garner support and participation by students, parents, and local communities. Furthermore, we must ensure that all students feel respected and acknowledged in their learning process, whether in-person or through distance learning platforms. ACSA’s robust Resource Hub provides a launching pad of available reopening plans and strategies to deflate the anxiety suffered by many during these isolated times. The primary challenge before us is to ensure our students, staff, and communities regain some semblance of normalcy, to maintain connection and engagement, and sustain significant education learning during the upcoming chapters of uncertain times. ACSA’s adaptive response to the COVID-19 crisis demonstrates our organization’s ability to consistently provide administrators with state-of-the-art resources that enable all to support the lives of approximately 6.2 million California K-12 students. Through weekly webinars, ACSA’s staff and councils organized and delivered real-time practical solutions to reopening strategies, legislative analysis, and conversations for mutual challenges. 

We all need to be a little more understanding and patient with our customers in this business by recognizing and embracing the challenges many have endured.  
This proactive leadership process helped our students and staff feel safe and engaged in our new distance environment. Paramount to this unique educational delivery system was the continued embrace of important relationships represented across all community stakeholder groups in this new teaching and learning environment. Recent exercises, such as virtual and drive-through promotion ceremonies and graduations, reduced some emotions of isolation between students and staff longing to reconnect through traditional models of expressing appreciation. In addition to our students and staff, our families and communities have experienced trauma during this crisis. The medical, economic, and social impact the pandemic has brought on our educational communities will have a lasting effect for years to come. Consequently, we all need to be a little more understanding and patient with our customers in this business by recognizing and embracing the challenges many have endured. An understanding voice and a friendly smile go a long way in making the day of community stakeholders who are not sure what tomorrow looks like economically, with health care choices, and/or relationships to an individual who has contracted the COVID-19 virus.  Please take some time out of your busy schedule during the next few weeks to focus on articulating to your students, parents, and community how much you miss them and look forward to their return, no matter how limited under the circumstances. We all can speak hope and a brighter future into reality, one student, parent, community, and district at a time.
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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators