Monday, September 28, 2020

Looking Forward to A Successful School Year

More Straight Talk

It is kind of amazing how quickly time continues to slip by. By the time you read this, we’ll be within striking distance of the Labor Day Holiday. This year it will be on Monday, September 7th 

If you asked a young man or woman what the significance of the holiday was, some would be hardpressed to do that. Who could blame them? It’s not their fault. All of our holidays should have more meaning than just having three days off for a long weekend. 

Growing up in New England, it would signify the end of the Summer and the beginning of the new school year for those of us returning to the classroom. Today, it seems as though the end of Summer appears to have moved a little forward to another holiday known as Columbus Day.  

I can’t imagine the courage it took for those European explorers to make those voyages across the Atlantic, down to the southern tip of Africa and across to the Arabian Peninsula and onto India. It was a race to outdo one another and the Spaniards would not be outdone by the Portuguese, so they sent Columbus to the west and into those uncharted waters. 

Now, you can’t blame todayNew Englanders for their inclination to enjoy a little more of the warm weather before giving in to “Old Man Winter.” Many extend their vacations into the months of September and early October. Prices are more reasonable, and the weather is still quite nice, especially in the more northern areas with the turning of the leaves. 

Here in Florida, its a little different. Normally, the schoolage children are headed back to classes in the first couple of weeks in August, as they have historically been done by midMay for summer vacation. 

This year, however, dates have been set a little later as the Collier County School District and the Marco Island Charter Middle School will begin on August 31st. As such, they will not be ending before the second week or so of June. All of these changes go back to issues surrounding the COVID-19 Epidemic which swept through our nation and overseas. 

On a special note, the Marco Island Academy will be opening this week on Wednesday, August 12th. They have a wonderful website which can be accessed by going to the following web address: www.marcoislandacademy.org for all their information. The Collier County School District’s website can be reached at www.collierschools.com for more information on them should your child be in Tommie Barfield or any of the other schools in the District. 

If you remember correctly, schools in Collier County never reopened after their Spring Break last year, and educators and staff switched over to a modified teach and attend at home so the children could finish their school year. During that same time, health care professionals were struggling at bringing the pandemic under control. 

I’m sure it was an extremely stressful time for all involved. Teachers, staff, students and especially parents, all had to make significant adjustments. For myself, seventh grade was a difficult time, but I can’t imagine what it must be like when you’re doing it all over again as a 38-year-old parentbut this time alongside your son or daughter. Yes, I’m joking. 

It appears the District and the Charter Schools are doing a great job in the preparedness for this next year. Remember, there was no warning last year when this all fell upon them. Educators, parents and students were called upon to enter unchartered waters. Considering the circumstances, I believe they responded with the utmost professionalism and compassion for all concerned. 

I do understand making everyone happy is not something that is an easy task, especially in the times we live in today. However, they did place the safety of the children, their parents, staff and educators as a top priority as they dealt with the tasks they faced last Spring. 

To see teachers and staff driving by the homes of their students in an attempt to pick up their spirits was a wonderful gesture. To find parents going the extra mile to give those graduating seniors a little taste of what could have been, was also a wonderful gesture on their part. 

Whether it was at Tommie Barfield, the Charter Middle School, the Marco Island Academy, Manatee Middle or Lely, the children became the major priority in the minds and hearts of those educators and staff members. We owe those teachers and staff a big round of applause. 

The schools are prepared for the challenges facing them during this next academic year. Through the use of technology and the love of those educational professionals, the 2020-21 school year will be outstanding for those that take advantage of the hard work that has been done by those dedicated professionals. They have worked tirelessly to ensure these wonderful young minds are given every opportunity to excel in the next year, and in the years to come. 

However, if there is a bump in the road during the year, they are prepared for that also, and they won’t let you down. That wonderful phrase that caught on like wildfire last year, “Heroes Work Here,” applies to all our schools and those that work within them and support their efforts. Let’s all move forward together as a community of “can do” residents and show others what a successful community we are.  

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