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Note from Superintendent Swanson: Dec. 17, 2020
Dear Westminster Community,
As I write this end of the year message to you and wish you a happy holiday season, I know all of us are thrilled by the news that vaccines for COVID-19 are on their way to millions of Americans. There is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
As the first semester winds down, this is the ideal opportunity to reflect upon what we have accomplished in 2020 and what the year 2021 might look like. Westminster Public Schools has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep our students and staff safe while trying to deliver quality instruction. I’ve seen the work from not only the perspective of a superintendent but also as a grandmother with two students enrolled in Westminster Public Schools.
There have been hits and misses along the way, however, overall I am extremely proud of our efforts. This has been a team effort and everyone in WPS has contributed. I could not be more proud of our staff, students, parents and community.
In my view, this pandemic has also served as an important wake-up call for those who have taken our education system for granted. Mike Johnston, who heads Gary Community Investments and COVIDCheck Colorado (which partnered with us to provide COVID-19 testing), summed it up nicely, writing:
This pandemic has proven that schools are far more than places to read, write and learn arithmetic — they are engines of equity and harbors of hope, the places children go to eat, get counseling, build friendships, and find belonging and purpose.
This edition of What’s Up WPS details our plans for the return of students in 2021. I am optimistic that if we work together, we can reduce the number of instances where students and teachers are required to quarantine.
Still, in spite of our best efforts, there will no doubt be instances this spring where remote learning will be necessary. I urge you to watch our profile of Mesa Elementary teacher, Amber Rodenfels, which shows her approach to virtual learning and how she connects with her students. Amber is just one example. We have educators across the district who have learned to adapt and improvise, and I am grateful for their efforts.
Every holiday season we share a video with our community containing clips of student performances during the month of December. That wasn’t possible this year, so we came up with “Plan B” to record some virtual performances, and have our community supply us with videos and pictures. When we put out the request out, we weren’t quite sure what kind of response we would get – we should not have worried—the response has been amazing.
It’s pretty clear that even in trying times when we are apart, we are together.
Dr. Pamela Swanson
Superintendent of Schools