To the Valley View School community,

As we embark on the start of the 2020-21 school year, I would like to thank our students, parents, families, teachers and staff for their continued trust and support during this difficult and uncertain time.

The start to this school year is obviously different as we are living through a public health crisis unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. Our planning and decision making has been centered on the health and safety of our students. We hope to look back on this time and know that we did all we could to keep our kids safe.

Beyond health and safety, our goal is to provide the best, most consistent academic experience to our students. We believe that beginning the school year on a virtual platform lends itself to those goals at this time. The strength of the Valley View School District is not our buildings or classrooms. It is our students! It is also their parents and families and our teachers and staff. Our school community is what makes Valley View special.

From the beginning of this pandemic to now, I have been continually impressed by the resiliency, unity, and kindness of our community. Our community has come together in the face of adversity to do what it always does — be there for one another.

I have seen countless acts of generosity from parents and teachers donating meals to families in need to local businesses purchasing Chromebooks for students. These acts and many others have reminded us all how special of a community we live in.

The late Mr. Rogers told a famous story about being scared by events in the news as a boy. His mother’s advice to him, which shaped his life, was to look for the helpers. She told him that you will always find people who are helping. I am proud to be part of a community of helpers. We collectively have shown our children that even during the most difficult times, kindness prevails.

I humbly ask all of our stakeholders to continue to be kind, generous, patient and supportive to one another and with the school as we do something we have never done before. However challenging the start of this school year may be at times, we are in it together! We share the responsibility of keeping our students safe and helping them reach their potential.

As noted above, teaching and learning will be different at the start of this school year. Students will sit at their kitchen tables or on their couches rather than at their desks in our classrooms. Teachers will appear on children’s screens rather than physically in front of and beside them.

With all the inherent differences, I’d like to point out what has not changed. Despite beginning virtually, our students will still be taught by their own teachers. There are many online options available to schools that utilize “canned” or prepackaged curriculums delivered by strangers. The same teachers who our students and community know and love will still be in front of them.

Further, our teachers will deliver our curriculum. The same high quality content and pace of instruction will be provided as if we were in school. This is critically important as we simply cannot let our students fall behind. Upon our eventual return to school, students will pick up right where they would be.

Finally, the same supports built into our normal routines are available to our students while we are virtual. This is a lengthy list and includes the following, just to name a few: access to guidance counselors, reading and math specialists, case managers and paraprofessionals; lunches for students who need them; technology support and a full range of mental health services. Again, we are defined by our people, our support and our commitment — not our buildings.

As we begin the school year and settle into a new and different online routine, we are working hard to return physically. We look forward to doing this just as quickly as possible, but only when it is safe. We sincerely miss our students and the hustle and bustle that is a typical school day in any of our four schools. Upon our return, I know that we all will appreciate even more the opportunity to work with our students in person. While online, upon our return, and anytime thereafter we are here for our students and our community.

I wish you all a safe, healthy, and successful 2020-2021 school year!