Dear District Family,
Decades from now, when I reminisce about the past and share with young family members about school during a pandemic, they may not believe there was a time when children were unable to set foot on campus. Will they be surprised that all learning was done virtually, and we all wore masks to keep each other safe? They may think I’m exaggerating when I say that schools were modified to allow children to stay socially connected while remaining physically distanced. I will tell them the story anyway, and I’ll be sure to include the most inspiring aspects of the 2020-21 school year.
I’ll share how when we had to close our campuses nearly overnight, our staff made sure our students still had access to meals from the very first day. Our team made sure students had devices and hot spots to learn virtually with the support of local corporations providing additional supplies. Our teachers and staff did all they could to support each other and to master the art of virtual instruction while keeping academic, social, and emotional growth a priority for all our students. Nonprofits helped provide additional groceries at our school sites for families to take home. And our children’s families juggled work responsibilities and managed pandemic hardships while overseeing their children’s schooling from home.
I won’t leave out any of these inspiring examples of our community coming together to support our students, their families, and our Sunnyvale School District team. These experiences led to the greatest lesson I learned during my first year as superintendent: The value of a community of educators, families, and neighbors— one that comes together in service to our children— is powerful and immeasurable. When I reflect on my first year as superintendent, that is what I will remember most vividly and most gratefully.
I wish you a wonderful and restful summer, and I look forward to having your children join us for five-day, in-person instruction in August.
Michael Gallagher, Ed.D.