Late Winter Newsletter 2021

Late Winter Newsletter 2021
Posted on 03/05/2021
Late Winter Newsletter 2021Download the Late Winter 2021 Newsletter (.pdf)

Dear friends,

March 16, 2020 - the day everything changed. Nearly one year ago, our entire world was rocked and placed upside down with little understanding of what the following months would look like. Not even in my wildest dreams could I have predicted we’d be closing schools due to a global pandemic. Even in the most progressive and enlightened discussions, we couldn’t have imagined moving to a completely virtual educational model overnight. Even now, staples of today’s learning landscape -- masks, virtual lessons, social distancing, hybrid schedules -- seem surreal. My impression is steadfast, however -- our students and staff are resilient and our community is strong.

I hope you’ll join me in my feelings of pride for our city and students. With an attitude of fortitude, we will come out of this stronger.

In addition to working to remain ‘COVID-compliant,’ we have used our time as a district to not only react to the changing demands of the pandemic but to also reflect on our values and priorities. With deliberate planning, we have used the last several months strategically in response to the growing equity movements happening across the country. Like many other educational, nonprofit and commercial organizations, the Elmira City School District has advanced important discussions of equity in our schools and community. Our District has taken action on this important diversity work. We have engaged a variety of staff, students and community members for their input and participation.

Throughout this newsletter, you’ll find an article about this Express Equity Initiative. As you’ll read, there is great energy, passion and momentum growing as we march ahead.

The 100th day of school was celebrated on Friday February 26, 2021 and it was hard to believe that we are over half way to the end of this academic year. From snow days, to virtual days, to changes in schedules for second semester, our families and students have remained engaged and ready to learn. We recognize the leaps and bounds needed in order for our students and community to propel quickly into these new learning models. We’ve collected important data and feedback to make timely decisions on format changes, etc. With true team work, we have come a long way and continue to make important strides.

Spring is just ahead and we look forward to seeing athletes back on the field and our extracurricular activities beginning safely again soon. With advancements in vaccine distribution and the continuation of health protocols, we are beginning to see true progress. I look forward to the opportunity to update you further as more news and updates are released from the state.

As always, I wish to extend my gratitude and appreciation for our students who have been the true heroes throughout this unprecedented time. As I like to say, it is our youth who provide the greatest hope. If the resilience I’ve been witness to throughout this time is a predictor to what this group of youth is capable of accomplishing, then I can confidently say we have a very bright
future ahead.

Let’s Go Express!

Hillary J. Austin

Hillary J. Austin
Superintendent of Schools
Elmira City School District