Letters to the Editor in Sebastian, Florida, for August 22, 2020.
Some may say that a “spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” especially whenever one is faced with an enormous task. If that was the prerequisite for success, we all would assume that “we like big butts and cannot lie”!
Still, there is only so much sugar one can ingest, no matter the size of the task. Then again, determining how to educate some 18,000 students while ensuring safety, health, and following the recommendations of the CDC is nearly impossible! There isn’t enough money to make me ponder the responsibility myself. Besides the money, I would not want the responsibility, not all the unappreciative complaints.
To express to my children the magnitude of the task and responsibility that the SDIRC Superintendent Dr. Moore was up against while preparing to reopen schools during a pandemic was a challenge in itself.
Where would one start?
Safety, health, class size, teachers, academic mandates and on and on. To truly express appreciation and understanding concerning education and these unprecedented times of “uncertainty” I went straight for the LEGOS.
First, we had to count out 18,000 pieces. Then we had to separate pieces by grade level and then factor in special needs and all three different options of learning. Don’t forget class size, options of learning, hot spots and laptops, hand sanitizer stations etc. This lesson proved why I’m not a superintendent, not only was it too hard, it was so complex!
Do words bite?
Yes! As my children offered words of encouragement, I scrabbled to develop a lesson that would truly provide the understanding of the task
Dr. Moore was responsible to achieve. I wanted to not only prove the difficulty but for them to appreciate the magnitude of his responsibility.
If you don’t know what’s involved or you don’t appreciate the work of others then don’t complain. That was my motto. Complaining is easy but offering to assist in order to get a resolution that’s honorable. Forget the LEGOS as I feared I would, without a doubt, step on one or two that did not get put away with the rest. No one appreciates a lesson that induces pain anyway!
We tried another way. It takes 150 bags of M&Ms to represent a school district with 18,000 students. This was the “spoonful of sugar” to teach the lesson. Best part was, no one at my house was complaining about the task now. We had to count each bag, separate each color, and then divide up each color into grade levels. It was candy; every kid loves candy, especially M&Ms. I was sure to have helpers throughout the lesson and learners when we finished.
I did not speculate or plan for any “uncertainty”. Providing three different educational options to reopen schools was a given. That made the task easier. Until we had to configure a cafeteria at lunchtime, hallways during class changes, and bus transportation to and from school each day. All required social distancing. It was a challenge, but together we were devising a plan. Then came the half M&Ms, you know, the ones that give the perfectly round ones a challenge while having to accept the ones that are different. Different is beautiful.
We quickly came to the realization that M&Ms are way more fun than textbooks to learn a complex task as they taste way better than school lunches, and although they are different colors, they all taste the same. The only certainty we had was that we were not going to be hungry for dinner. No matter what we did, we always had some “uncertainty”.
Want to know what we learned from our lesson? We learned that if the superintendent is not committed to education, not committed to providing an educational opportunity to all students all while providing a safe and healthy environment for all that “ain’t nobody gonna learn nothing with any opportunity or from any old option of learning any old way, ain’t happenin.” We need schools open in some shape and form.
I am happy to report that our lesson proved that it takes a village of support for a true leader who is committed to providing educational opportunities for all in a variety of ways. It most certainly takes encouragement and dedication to educate during these times of “uncertainty.”
We are certain, while many in other districts are “uncertain” that our superintendent, Dr. Moore, and his staff are more than a “spoonful of sugar,” they are SUPERCALIIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOOCIOUS! And that’s for “certain”!