Dear Jefferson Families,
Do you ever grow weary of not going out to eat, keeping six-feet apart in public, wearing a mask to the market, working from home, and trying to support your child with their education at home? As a father of three and a superintendent, I can admit to a good measure of weariness on all fronts. I want it to be over! I want to get back to normal! I miss the kids and going into schools every week. I lead with this because I know and can relate to how challenging this is for you. It’s tough and getting old.
Across the schools, we are seeing a decrease in engagement across grade levels. Teachers are sensing the weariness. In addition to weariness, we know that anxiety and depression are ever-present in some students and that some are struggling with isolation, doing school at home without peer interaction and in-person teacher support, worries about getting sick, etc. We know too that it’s difficult to work from home and oversee the education of your children, especially for those in the primary grades.
Distance Learning presents challenges for us all. But I want to take this opportunity to briefly connect with you and say a few words, hopefully, of encouragement.
First - You’re amazing! You are taking on a new level of support for your child’s education and we are so thankful for your efforts. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Everything you do to support makes a difference. Whatever that is, is good.
Second - we have several weeks to go. We can do this together! We’ve got this! Please help us keep your child engaged in learning. Encourage them and reassure them.
Third - feel free to give us your constructive feedback. Reach out to your child/children’s teacher and do two things: 1) tell them how awesome they are. This is really hard and they too need encouragement. 2) tell them how it’s going. If the work is too hard or not engaging, can you provide us with some ideas on how to connect with your child? What would make it easier in the next month?
This is the first time we’ve had to teach this way and we are continually adjusting. Your feedback and partnership is really important because we want to get this right! We want to engage your student/s and make these next weeks enjoyable. I have provided a few tips on how to help your child be successful. I also included links to a few articles on supporting the mental health of your child during this time.
Fourth - if your child is struggling emotionally, please reach out for help. Our counselors are available and there are many resources available to you. (Available via this link is information from ODE for addressing for Mental Health and Social Support)
Keep up the great work, Jefferson families. Your support for your child’s education is amazing!
Patience, understanding and reassurance
- Reward positive behavior and validate feelings often
- Include choice in your child’s learning
- Encourage keeping in touch with friends
- Encourage healthy diet, and regular exercise and stretching
- Stick to existing routines
- Participate in household activities
- Set gentle but firm limits
- Encourage discussion of thoughts, feelings and experiences with friends and family.
- Follow children’s need for information, and encourage them to ask questions.
- Provide short, accurate answers
- Encourage time for creativity and expression
- Limit media exposure
- Address any stigma, misinformation or discrimination
Sincerely, Superintendent Capener