Opinion: School may look different for now, but it's moving ahead
April 1, 2020
The past two weeks have definitely been the most unusual we’ve ever experienced. Week before last we were hanging on every word we heard; every piece of news, every update — both nationally and internationally; both from the governor’s office as well as the Public Education Department of New Mexico — to learn the latest, to see what would come to pass.
Hasty meetings were called; breakout sessions formed, constant conversations and speculations occupied us, and we at Clovis Municipal Schools began planning for what was still, in fact, the unknown.
Then, last week’s spring break was like no other: carefully planned holidays hurriedly canceled; concerns about the future expressed; new vocabulary surfaced: for example, “social distancing” became a standard new phrase.
Then, as the definitive news came that school closures would extend through the end of the school year, a new flurry of activity began. Just because school buildings would not be open doesn’t mean that education won’t continue. In fact, following guidelines from the NMPED, “public education will shift to a learn-at-home model” based upon NM school districts developing a continuous learning plan to meet the needs of our community.
That’s where we are now; meeting “virtually,” communicating frequently, and developing plans to move forward with remote learning for our students. Pooling resources, skills, talents, experience, and grit, we’re building that plan as quickly as possible so we can move forward once again to connect teachers and students.
Reflecting on our situation, an interesting parallel occurred to me. Mind you, this is after a hefty dose of meme-reading on social media and a couple of weeks of online, virtual interaction with colleagues, family, friends, and others. It’s often remarked that the “church” is not the building, but the people; those who are living out their faith in the world. I’ve come to realize the same is true in education. ”School” is not the buildings, but the people who make it that unique, all-encompassing, life-transformative experience. It’s the teachers longing to connect again with their students; it’s the students missing their teachers and the close community school provided. It’s everyone, from our families to our food service personnel, to our custodial staff and everyone else, unfailing in their commitment to our students.
It’ll be OK … school is moving ahead; it may look different, but we’re in this together, so get ready for a new day.
Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for Clovis Municipal Schools. She can be reached at: