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As we approach the 1-year mark of schools being shut down last Spring it is important to note that all students will forever remember 2020 as the year that the classrooms and campuses closed down. As coronavirus cases surged in the spring and then again in the autumn educators and families did their best to pivot to a socially-distanced Plan B, building a new system of remote instruction overnight in hopes of maintaining learning and community. As with anything in education we have continued to grow, adapt, and learn how to deliver meaningful instruction during this pandemic. We are grateful for the tremendous support from our communities throughout the process of keeping our students learning in the building every day this year while trying to effectively teach those learning from home as well.

Something that has been on my mind as this year goes on is the thought of being empathetic to others. We have all had a tough time for one reason or another over the past year, and I worry that it is affecting how we treat other people at times. It is easy to get caught up in all of the things we have not been able to do without stopping to appreciate what we have and how others may need our support.

Here is part of an article by Claire Cain Miller:

“More and more, we live in bubbles. Most of us are surrounded by people who look like us, vote like us, earn like us, spend money like us, have an education like us, and worship like us. The result is an empathy deficit, and it’s at the root of many of our biggest problems. It’s because of how homogeneous people’s social circles have become, and also because humans naturally hold biases. But researchers have discovered that far from being an immutable trait, empathy can be developed. There are steps people can take to acknowledge their biases and to move beyond their own. So what is empathy? It’s understanding how others feel and being compassionate toward them. It happens when two parts of the brain work together, neuroscientists say — the emotional center perceives the feelings of others and the cognitive center tries to understand why they feel that way and how we can be helpful to them.”

Randy Wild, 9-12 Principal