Dear SAU 70 School Community,
Sorry for the long silence. I spent a large portion of last week learning an important lesson about good intentions. Thomas Edison is supposed to have said that "A good intention with a bad approach often leads to a poor result." My attempt to mediate the debate about high school grading was intended to reduce anxiety about the impact of adopting a Credit / No Credit system on college admissions prospects while also minimizing the stress surrounding the differential impact of school closure on our students. As it turns out, it did neither. The introduction of the idea of a "credit plus" heightened student concerns, dismayed teachers, and confused everyone. Among the many emails I received opposing my recommendation, several pointed out that I had spent lots of time and used lots of words to provide little clarity. So, I met with the HHS staff and heard from Council, who urged me to reconsider. I received numerous emails from students and parents urging me to support the original recommendation for a Credit / No Credit system. Last night, I did so, and the Dresden Board agreed unanimously. For those of you who disagree with this decision, I assure you that the HHS administration, teachers, and counselors will be shepherding your students through the application process and are deeply committed to seeing your students through it to their best advantage. The students and teachers who spoke at last night's board meeting were eloquent and compassionate in their expressions of concern for the whole school community, and their insistence that the Credit / No Credit proposal was the most equitable solution was compelling.
As we head into May, we will will continue our remote instruction, and along the way, our principals will keep you updated on our progress. They will also ask you to provide feedback through periodic surveys. Please take the time to share your assessment of how things are going; we do value the insight and will consider it as we continue to develop our program. I have little to report from either of our state education leaders. They have promised that guidance will be coming regarding graduation and other end of year celebrations, as well as prospects for summer programming. They warn that the economic impacts of the pandemic will likely affect our public education system, but how and how much are unknown. Our next big decision will be deciding on an end date for remote instruction that will leave us enough time to work with our educators to plan for the summer and for next year. I will keep you informed as we approach that decision and will share any new information as it becomes available.
I know for most of us, life with COVID is getting old. The demands of work and family are swirled together in an unfamiliar way. In my house we've experienced this in odd intervals of discord and harmony, discomfort and reassurance. As I pointed out during last night's Dresden School Board meeting, this unfortunate situation is full of learning opportunities for us as individuals, families, and communities far beyond anything we've contemplated in "remote instruction." I hope we take advantage of them when the outbreak is contained, a vaccine is developed, and we return to "normal."