March, April, and May found us in the midst of remote learning in the Douglas County School District. During this unprecedented time, our teachers, students and parents adapted to this new way of life. It truly takes all of us working together for the betterment of our students.
We also faced a number of challenges. Our students missed their friends and teachers. Our teachers missed their students and school community. Some of our youngest learners, who are healthy and well, struggled to understand why they couldn’t play with their friends. Our children missed birthday parties and sports seasons. In-person ceremonies celebrating the transition from elementary school to middle school were canceled. Big life moments — like getting your learner’s permit to drive — were put on hold. Some of our high schoolers missed out on their prom.
These are milestone moments and it’s not easy to miss out on any of these. Our Class of 2020 has certainly been put to the test. Graduations were postponed and we await guidance from health experts, the Colorado Department of Education, and Gov. Jared Polis on whether in-person graduation ceremonies will be possible this summer. In the meantime, we continue to explore ways we can host commencement ceremonies that balance celebrating our graduates, while keeping our students and community members safe. There are two words that come to mind when I think of our current situation — and how our students, staff, parents, and community have responded to this unprecedented time: Resilient and Ready.
Although everything looks a bit different this year, it is a time of celebration and reflection. All of our DCSD students have shown that they are Resilient and Ready. This is especially true for our Class of 2020. They worked for this moment for 13 years and deserve to be celebrated. I’ve been so impressed with the positivity and maturity many of our seniors are displaying in light of the cards they have been dealt related to this pandemic. Living through this unusual time and coming out on the other side proves they are Resilient.
I am also confident that our Class of 2020 is Ready for the next chapter. They may be headed to college, the military or the workforce. Each of our seniors has worked hard over the past 13 years to reach this point, and each has experienced many milestones along the way, culminating in the senior year of high school. I know our seniors are experiencing a range of emotions such as anger, disappointment, sadness and even fear. I feel these emotions with our seniors. Despite this, I know that the pandemic does not define the Class of 2020. The impact, experiences, and memories of the past 13 years cannot be erased. So I ask our Class of 2020 to please keep their heads up. They have so much to look forward to and I wish each of our graduates nothing but success in the future. To our Class of 2020: the next chapter is yours to create — make it a memorable one.
I also want to honor those who rose up the last few months of school and responded to the challenge. As a community, we continued to educate our students through remote learning. We are continuing to care for one another and looking for opportunities to nurture our physical and mental well-being. The past few months have proven that the Douglas County School District community is also Resilient and Ready.
I know that together, if we continue with the positivity and grace our students, parents and staff have shown over the past couple of months, we will come out of this challenging time in our lives stronger than ever — and more connected as the Douglas County School District family.
I continue to be incredibly proud to serve as your superintendent.
Thomas S. Tucker, Ph.D., is the superintendent of the Douglas County School District.
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