I recently read a short story titled “We Are Not In The Same Boat” concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. This short story speaks to the idea that we have all gone through the same storm; however, we went through this storm in different types of boats with vastly different experiences and outcomes. I visualize some families in large ocean cruisers, others in small boats, and some bobbing out in the water with life jackets on, and finally, some treading water to stay afloat.

As I contemplated the meaning of this story, I started to compare and contrast education and the different experiences our students have gone through over the past 18 months. These differences include the learning models our students were in, the activities they participated in, and the ever-changing family dynamics in their households throughout the pandemic. Some families lost loved ones, some families lost their businesses, some families lost their jobs, and perhaps some families grew closer due to the time spent together at home. These experiences have shaped and impacted our students in dramatically different ways.

The staff at Hutchinson Public Schools understands this dynamic and is going to approach each student with this in mind. We are committed to looking at each student individually, making sure we do everything we can to help them be a successful learner. We will meet the students where they are at academically and socially/emotionally, and work with them from that point.

The district has hired additional staff to address the academic learning loss in math and reading and has added extra support to address the social and emotional needs of our students. Our staff has been working diligently throughout the summer to develop plans and strategies to utilize these additional resources to the best of our abilities on behalf of our students.

As parents and guardians, you have been great partners over the last two school years and we appreciate all you have done. We will again need your help and cooperation to keep our students and staff healthy and safe throughout the upcoming school year. Together, we can make this a great school year for our kids. We are very excited to welcome our students back into our schools and our classrooms!