Hello! Thank you for visiting the Superintendent page on our website. As we look towards the 2020-2021 school year, the landscape of education will be much different due to the challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only will we be required to use masks, social distance, and implement enhanced cleaning measures and health screenings, but how we educate will be new for many of our staff, students and families. Despite these new obstacles, I believe that the Selah School District is poised to rise to these challenges and meet the needs of our entire learning community because of the solid foundation we have laid over the past few years. Let me explain.
In August of 2019, the Selah School District Board of Directors adopted our new strategic priorities, which we call The Viking Promise. The goal of The Viking Promise is to meet the needs of the whole child by creating EQUITY centered, ENGAGING and PERSONALIZED learning experiences in an emotionally and physically SAFE environment for each child in Selah. That goal could not be more appropriate for the times in which we find ourselves. Although we are still very early in the implementation of this multi-year effort at bringing these priorities to life, I am optimistic that the work we have begun, and will continue to build on, will pay big dividends for our students now and in the future.
In the COVID-19 world our priorities may look different, but we still have a great opportunity using them to guide us in our work (each priority is in bold and italicized). Rigorous and Engaging Classrooms will look different, but our creativity can help ensure that relationships, teacher clarity and challenge for students are still intact. We need to keep our minds open to the impacts on our families through a Trauma Sensitive Practices lens, and not forget about Culturally Responsive Teaching strategies to help make meaningful connections between what students learn in school and their cultures, languages, and life experiences. Social Emotional Learning will be essential for our kids to help them deal with the challenges and pressures of their lives as we employ what we know about Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports when dealing with some of our neediest students in a virtual manner or when they return to our classrooms. Family and Community Engagement will look different for a little while, but now more than ever it is crucial to create and maintain strong partnerships that support our students. Finally, this new world of COVID and beyond has the potential to help many of our students become more Future Ready, not only with the use of technology, but with their ability to be resilient, to collaborate, to communicate, to be innovative and to develop empathy.
In addition to all of this, we have another crisis on our hands in our schools, communities and nation. The lack of racial equality that has plagued our country for years has emerged recently as one of the biggest social justice movements in our history. As a school district, we must and will do our part in ending systemic racism. Our students, staff and families of color deserve that from us, and I pledge to help make our district part of the solution to this conflict now and in the future.
In closing, I encourage all of us to come together so that we can get through these trying times and have a successful year for all members of our learning community. No matter your personal beliefs, the only way we make our schools, community and nation better is by doing this work hand-in-hand. And, there is much work to be done. However, I know we will be able accomplish our tasks because of the strong relationships and partnerships we have built in Selah.