It occurred to me recently that we are entering into the twelfth month of a global pandemic: a year of navigating the previously unknown is a long time. Things we have taken either for granted or casually accepted as possible are seemingly impossible. I previously liked the idea of impulsive grocery shopping. Although I plan most of my days at work, I enjoyed the casual possibility of eating with students in the cafeteria. I would typically sit with whomever asked me first; I have not eaten in the cafeteria in a long time. I was known to casually walk into a recess game of 500, but that is more challenging with cohorts remaining isolated. Many of these changes demonstrate our capacity to adapt, reflect and create new opportunities that capitalize on our previous conceptions about school, recess, lunch, and even grocery shopping.
The disruption of systems allows us to take stock of their intent, purpose and participants. Why is that our systems exist? What is the primary role of these systems and who do they favor either intentionally or inadvertently? This year has allowed me as a school leader to step back a bit and consider the why and the how more so than ever before precisely because we need to examine the feasibility of some of our structures through a new lens. Admittedly public health is not my forte. My mother’s career as a Registered Nurse did not adequately prepare me for the amount of learning needed to understand how to get the building, staff, students, families, and systems ready for school. It did not hurt, but I feel like a new requirement for teachers and administrators might be teaching and leading for the unknown.
As far as my learning about systems, needs and wants are concerned, I can safely say that we are adaptable. That gives me hope because there are other systems in need of change, disruption and balancing. Is it detrimental to have first graders eat in their classroom? It’s a solid no. It’s calm, relaxing and times convivial. Is our participation up when school lunch and breakfast is free for all students? Yes and that also eliminates stigmas, opening up the possibility of feeding more students. Other systems continue to evolve or need evolution, but what we know about ourselves is that we are capable of flexing in ways that may not have seemed possible a year ago and for that I am thankful and hopeful.
Much like the bulb peaking out of the soil in the face of snow at the top of the newsletter, we are cultivating opportunities in the face of adversity. We are resilient, capable of change and willing to put in the mental work to accomplish great things. - Matthew DeBlois, Principal
"The mission of Vergennes Union Elementary School is to engage our children, families, and community in the lifelong process of learning through exposure to: a rich and challenging curriculum, a skilled, qualified staff, and a safe, nurturing environment in which students will become caring and creative contributors to the diversity of their community and emotionally and academically prepared for the challenges of the future."
"We envision a kind, collaborative, and creative community for all that nurtures a diverse and accessible learning environment. Students will flourish as critical thinkers and productive citizens, cultivating resilience in an ever-changing world."