Dear Long Beach Unified Team,
No matter your role in LBUSD, the start of the 2020-2021 school year is like no other that we have experienced before. Countless hours were spent between June and today getting buildings prepared, personal protective material ordered and systems readied to support our entire district through the continued response to a global pandemic. Just last week, our teachers engaged in very intense professional development and new learning and have embraced teaching at a distance in ways that we couldn’t even have imagined previously. And, while there is always a lot of work done in summer, this summer required much more of every single member of our LBUSD team (both classified and certificated).
Like many of you, I am missing our students so much. I have corresponded with some of our high school students and while I can tell that they are “making the best of things,” I also know that this time has created a lot of anxiety and instability in our students’ hearts and minds and that they are depending on us more than ever.
More than ever, families will be depending on us to ensure that their children are connected to their teachers and their school community. Through the months of spring, we saw clearly the significant role that our schools play in ensuring the health of our neighborhoods and the community-at-large. While this connectivity will mostly come in the form of students’ participation in distance learning, connectivity can also come in the form of taking time to encourage students who live in your neighborhood, participating in school or district outreach to families and making suggestions to others on how to reach families that we have not yet reached.
More than ever, students will be looking to all of us to express care toward them. This care may come in the form of direct care from a teacher, a helping hand while students are on campus to gather their materials or a meal or through encouragement from afar. Please remember that every interaction that we have with a student is an opportunity to show how much we care about their wellbeing, and you should never underestimate what a difference you can make in the lives of our young people.
Thank you for your incredible efforts to center the wellbeing of students as we open school this year. Your focus on care and connection is our districtwide priority right now. Thank you for all of your efforts leading into the first day of school and for being a team who comes together, regardless of title, role or job on behalf of kids.
Jill Baker, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools