Learning resilience from our students

Students are a resilient lot! I have spent many mornings in our schools and always enjoy the opportunity to converse with our young people. They are honest, forthright and not afraid to ask the difficult questions. I have said many times that the future of our country is bright as these students make their own way forward. Of course, they will be different than the previous generations, but then so were we. We managed to figure it out and so will they.

I saw an example of this last week at one of our high schools. After offering a weak apology to a senior young lady (with big post high school plans I might add) for how rough her 11th and 12th grade years have been, she quickly corrected me. She said that she has learned so much about herself in terms of dealing with such a major crisis that she knows she is ready for the next chapter in her life. She was thankful for her teachers, principal, parents and the fact that she, unlike several millions of students around the country was able to attend school. While there were things she definitely missed about “normalcy”, she felt the life lessons she learned were very impactful. Oh, and she casually mentioned prom as we concluded our talk.

I have not been able to get that conversation out of my head as it reinforced to me the power of education, teachers and how each day we strive to help students be the very best they can be.

The recent news concerning the virus and vaccinations is wonderful for all of LPS and our community. While we still have a long way to go to really be safe, I believe we are heading to the other side of this incredible challenge. With data showing demonstrating again that our schools are safe, we have invited all high school students to come back in-person after spring break – ending the 3/2 schedule. This invitation comes with the caveat that we won’t hesitate to go back to the 3/2 schedule if advised to do so by health officials. We have done a great job thus far in keeping our schools safe and cannot let our guards down.

As we head into the final quarter of the academic year, I want to thank all members of the LPS staff for their incredible effort to make it work under very difficult circumstances. I would also call out our parents and incredibly supportive community for their confidence. While this has been a year like no other, I am beyond confident that we will emerge stronger than ever in our resolve to help every single student succeed.

Steve Joel