I've been really frustrated by a small but very vocal group of parents who are agitating for the schools to open in-person. Their premise seems to be that the pandemic is overblown and that remote schooling is all some grand conspiracy by lazy teachers and overly powerful teachers unions. (Anyone who has ever met a teacher knows that these ideas are beyond absurd.)
SO... I was talking with some like-minded parents last night and the idea was floated that it might be a good idea to write to the teachers, principals, school board, etc in support of our teachers. I decided to throw a draft together, and this is what I came up with (with help and feedback from other parents.)
Dear teachers, administrators, and staff of the Belmont Public Schools,
There has been a lot of talk and hand-wringing about the various plans for education in this age of pandemic. We would like to acknowledge that you are caught in the crossfire and that you are nevertheless performing an exceptional service in unprecedented times.
Many of us chose to live in Belmont because of its schools. Over the years, we have been impressed by the professionalism, dedication, and perseverance that you demonstrate every day. The move to remote schooling has also shown us that you have great resilience and flexibility. We have been enjoying hearing our kids engaged during this time at home thanks to your efforts.
Many of us have chosen to keep our children remote during Phase 2 to help protect their health and yours. This choice was difficult and each family approached it differently, but whatever our decisions on the matter it is no reflection of our confidence in you. Some of us are transitioning to hybrid, but appreciate this remote time as a rewarding experience for our kids. This is a time of learning for all of us, thanks to our amazing teachers.
We recognize that many of you are struggling with the same decisions regarding your own health and safety. We know that these are very difficult choices to make, and we support your decisions. We hope that the schools will be able to make appropriate accommodations where needed.
We would like you to know that parents support and appreciate you and your work. We are glad to have our children in your care. We look forward to the day that the schools can safely open to all children, but we are very much aware that this will not happen soon. Until then please know that we feel you are doing an admirable job and that our children’s needs are being met.
I haven't done anything with this letter yet, but I have nearly 80 people who have signed it, and I hope we can send it along to the various interested parties soon. In the meantime, if you are a Belmont parent reading this who would like to be added, please let me know and I'll add your name. If you are a parent somewhere else I encourage you to reach out to your teachers, principals and other educators who probably would benefit from some words of encouragement right now. And of course if you are a teacher, this is for you, with a heartfelt thanks for everything you are doing right now. (But please don't take out your red pen, I am sure there are grammar errors in there somewhere.)