New Albany-Plain Local schools in 2021: District's leaders hail promising outlook
In 2021, Superintendent Michael Sawyers said he sees a rebound from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic for the New Albany-Plain Local School District.
“Yes, I am optimistic health conditions will improve as we begin 2021, and I am optimistic to see the expansion of a vaccine available to the greater community,” Sawyers said. “I am optimistic staff will be receptive to receiving it as we continue to create a safe space at school for students and staff.”
Sawyers said he was grateful to the partners who “helped us to maintain a safe learning environment. We remain optimistic the support will continue as we are truly stronger together."
Those alliances include the New Albany Community Foundation, the New Albany Food Pantry, the city of New Albany, Healthy New Albany, the district's Task Force and "the many people engaged in the work to advise us as a school district,” Sawyers said.
He said there is much to look forward to in 2021, such as high school career pathways and program of studies expansion; community well-being forums; a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion for students, and expansion of the arts for students with the opening of the Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater.
Sawyers described the COVID-19 instructional model as a roller coaster in 2020.
“We have been in several attendance modes throughout the fall, from a hybrid start to the school year, to ‘all-in’ in-person learning, back to a hybrid model with alternating days of gold/maroon student groups and finally fully remote the past seven days prior to winter break,” he said. “Our teachers and staff have done a remarkable job building upon what they learned from our abrupt shutdown last spring, professional development over the summer and now their flexibility throughout the fall to be able to adjust and adapt the way they instruct, engage and support learning in the district."
School board president John McClelland said district leaders have every reason to be optimistic for the coming year.
“We already have a strong foundation in our administration and our fabulous teaching staff and also just a wonderful student body and wonderful community," he said. "Obviously, this last year has been a challenge, but we’ve taken it more as an opportunity on how we deliver education, how kids learn.
"We’ve found things that work; we’ve found things that don’t work. Amidst all the challenge of the last year and all the negativity that exists around COVID, there are nuggets of positivity that we can find and choose to look at as we move forward.”