Principal’s Message 2020
To the Derby Community:
Our school has changed in the last seven years, especially in this past year. We have many new faces on our staff, who are eager to influence our children in positive ways and take over the reins from our veterans that have retired, continuing the excellence that our community deserves. Additionally, our community is fortunate to be served by caring, dedicated board members, teachers, office staff, kitchen staff, bus drivers, para educators, administrators, nursing staff, guidance staff, and custodians.
In March 2020, the pandemic forced us into the closure of in-person learning and remote instruction for our students through the end of the school year. It certainly was difficult, but our teachers and students and families rose to the challenge of maintaining the learning and successfully navigating the learning curve of technology and remote instruction. Not only were we concerned about learning, but also about feeding our children. Our support staff met the challenge head on, and we were able to keep staff employed and deliver over 400 healthy nutritious meals per day to our children, and 200 during the summer months. This was an impressive feat for sure!
We know the best place for children is in our school, and as the summer wound down, we became 100% committed to in-person learning, and a safe, healthy environment for our children and staff. Many changes were made in our operational systems, processes and routines, but our staff, and especially our children, were resilient and we have had much success. Parents have been accepting and positive about these changes, and we thank them for their help in providing a safe environment for children at school and at home so that we can keep the school open. We are also able to see that some new processes have merit in a post-COVID environment.
At the same time we were preparing for in-person instruction, staff engaged in technology training and sought virtual teaching strategies so that we could pivot quickly to remote instruction and continue the learning throughout the year if necessary. We also prioritized social emotional learning for all of our children, and trained all staff in the Zones of Regulation so it could be embedded in the classroom. The increased staffing and training this past year in the area of social emotional skills and restorative practices have been so beneficial for our children and staff in this time of a global pandemic. All teachers are teaching these skills in order to meet the universal mental health needs of our children.
We continue our journey of equity literacy. This has never been more important as the pandemic pointed out inequities in stark relief, especially in terms of access to nutritious food and technology and the internet. All children should have access to our programs, regardless of income, race, gender, ability, etc. We are scrutinizing our systems, programs, traditions, and practices to make sure that personal and social circumstances of our children, which are often far beyond their control, are not obstacles to achieving educational potential. An equitable education system helps all students develop the knowledge and skills they need to be engaged and become productive members of society. More importantly, giving all children an equitable start will lead to better economic and social outcomes for individuals and our community. Author Paul C. Gorski, Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity
Gap, writes, “No student should be denied the educational opportunities offered her peers because of where she was born or the economic condition of her family or, for that matter, her family’s home language or racial identity or any other condition beyond her control.” We are committed to making Derby Elementary equitable for all children.
We have much gratitude for community support in providing such wonderful and equitable learning opportunities for the children in Derby.
With Tiger Paw Pride,