As the parent of a graduate of and current teacher in the South-Western City School District, a long-time PTA volunteer and now president of the school board, I have been amazed at the amount of collaboration and cooperation we have experienced in response to the recent pandemic.
Volunteers from all walks of life have banded together to help others survive and thrive.
In addition to the more than 4,400 meals our schools provide to students each week, local churches, foodbanks and restaurants have donated thousands of meals to our students and their families since March.
These meals have been distributed at schools and school bus-stop locations, as well as personally delivered to residences, utilizing volunteer staff members, Communities in Schools employees and others. It warms my heart to see so many people coming together to help our families.
Our staff members have quickly learned how to remotely connect with students and families using distance-learning resources provided by agencies, museums, public-broadcasting systems and innovative educational leaders.
The creativity and sharing of resources is extraordinary in this time of not knowing what the future of education will look like. Our teachers have found innovative ways to continue to engage and excite our students about learning remotely, as evidenced by the many caring video clips shared on social media with families.
We have seen our student leaders work together across the district to help design meaningful graduation experiences for their peers that also work within the parameters set by various governmental and public health agencies for personal safety.
Residents and staff members have stepped up to adopt members of the class of 2020 so they know how much their South-Western community cares for them and wants them to have a bright future. Local news agencies have reported on the caring and giving nature of our communities as they support our graduates.
There's an old adage, "Necessity is the mother of invention," and we couldn't agree more.
We've seen some of the most creative and forward-thinking ways to reach and teach our students over the past couple of months.
Sometimes we just need that little nudge to take us to the next level in our thinking.
We've all learned new skill sets to adapt to this "new normal," as it's being called.
We're living in a world that is quickly changing as we also rediscover family traditions -- eating dinner together, playing board games, working on puzzles, talking to each other, writing journals for the future, and yes, electronically hanging out, Zooming, sharing a Facebook Live post and virtually documenting our activities for posterity.
What a phenomenal time we live in.
We can either concentrate on what we're giving up or focus on the positive change we're making in our world.
On behalf of the district's school board, I would like to thank each and every person who has made a difference in the life of someone else during these changing times.
We have been faced with a challenge and we have worked together to find solutions.
I can only imagine what the future holds for all of us.
Robert Ragland Sr. is president of the South-Western City School District Board of Education.