Encouragement in a COVID School Year–and a Call to Action

All of us would agree that this is a year like no other.

We are so pleased that the students have been in school since September 8. I have the privilege of walking into classrooms and witnessing how happy the students are to be learning again in a classroom with a real teacher and their friends. In conversations with parents I have learned that their children are sharing more stories about their school day than they did before our shut down in March. I have been calling parents who are new to the school to check in with them and they are so pleased with their decision to have their children receiving an education at GCCS.

While I see and hear about the joy of our students and witness our staff pouring into the lives of our students, we are missing out on some of our regular ways of encouraging each other. In class a teacher can’t see a student smile because they are wearing a mask. Our emotions are literally covered up. During pick up and drop off our staff members do not have the same opportunities to share a story with a parent and a parent does not get to share a positive story of thankfulness with the teacher. Each of these changes and others make it hard to encourage each other and feel part of a community.

While we lament the loss of these ‘normal’ ways of encouraging each other we do have ways of growing as a community of learning this school year. Our teachers spent a great deal of time and energy preparing progress reports that went home this week. You are also having a chance to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss your child’s progress this week through our online Parent Teacher Interviews.

In an effort to help our staff know about the impact they are having with your children I want to challenge all of you. I know you can’t easily chat with your child’s teacher or educational assistant this year. However, a handwritten note/card written to the staff members who are an important part of your child’s life right now would be so encouraging. Some of you are doing this already but I would encourage all of you to take a few minutes right now and throughout this school year to send notes expressing some specific reasons you are thankful for the work of our staff.


Marvin Bierling