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News and Notes

News and Notes: 7.6

Tom DeKeyser, Superintendent

We’ve been at this whole learning-during-a-pandemic thing for over a year now, Trojans. We are approaching seven months of in-person and Virtual Academy learning for the 20/21 school year with about three to go. Each day, week, and month brings with it its own set of challenges and triumphs. As weeks go, this one was not my favorite. I might even categorize it as rough. With COVID, it sometimes seems we take two steps forward and then a few steps back.  And just in case we were all bored with our pandemic-related anxiety, this week brought with it a lock-down.

Without a doubt, a huge step forward this week was our staff, and many community members, receiving their second dose of the vaccine on Monday. Thanks for your flexibility so we could make that happen. Steps back were positive cases in each building quarantining some students, including half of our competitive cheer before regionals. The team adjusted, adapted, and redid every round. The cheerleaders put in quarantine even Zoomed in to support and encourage their teammates. I praise their tenacity knowing none of that was easy. None of this is easy. But I’m confident it could be a lot harder without our amazing school staff. They have worked hard to safely keep our doors open and provide a new Virtual Academy for those who need to stay home. I hope you join me in sending well-deserved praise their way. But today, I want to also recognize our families. 

When I started meeting with families in August for our Zoom Return to Learn Q and A sessions, our discussions were rooted in trust and appreciation. Even if they questioned some of our plans, it was done with respect and an open mind. This response from our community has continued throughout the school year.  We know being put “in COVID jail,” finding last minute-care for your child for remote learning days, not being able to come into our buildings, and working through the feelings of your child being a close contact is a lot. It can be scary. It can be overwhelming.  It can be frustrating. But I’ve appreciated the fact that you never seem to get frustrated with us. This is not always the case in neighboring districts.  

Back in 2018 when I interviewed WLHS senior Drew Pfister for a Facebook LIVE, I asked him what #TrojanPride meant to him. His response was one word: “Family.” We are working through this pandemic together as a school family. So thank you. The trust you have in WLPS to do what is best for your child is what propels me and my staff through weeks we categorize as rough.

Needless to say, we all need a break. Luckily, today is the start of Spring Break. Be safe and smart. 

We kick off post-break remote learning on Tuesday, April 6. Prek-6th return to in-person learning on April 12. And 7th-12th begin a hybrid schedule laid out in WLMS/HS Principal Jill Henry’s message she sent out yesterday. WLES families can find this week’s Weekly Update HERE

See you after Spring Break. I look forward to working together to make the remainder of the 2020/2021 school year a great one to be a Trojan. 

One response to “News and Notes: 7.6

  1. Dear Mr DeKeyser, I read your upbeat message to our WLPS Family with thanks & amazement that you and your wonderful school staff & community have soldiered through this very challenging pandemic with such fortitude & courage! In my 81 years, this has been THE most challenging world disaster in my long memory. But you all have worked your way through daily unforeseen & unbelievable challenges with calmness & assurance that your whole team of staff, parents, & the community are here for one thing: for our children & youth of The Whitmore Lake Family.
    Having watched this pandemic from 2 other countries, (one in the United Kingdom), as we tried to make our way home from travels, during a world catastrophe of huge & sad proportions, I was cheered to see that our Whitmore Lake Community was doing everything possible to protect our children & youth & to keep them learning. Many of those young ones are the grandchildren of my students when I first came to WLPS as your librarian many years ago.
    Thank you to the WLPS Staff & to you for being strong, caring, and innovative in the face of the biggest, scariest challenge of all your careers. I am indeed proud to be a member emeritus of the WLPS Family! Yes, Larry Steeb WAS right, “It IS a great day to be a Trojan!” & to be a member of the small caring community of Whitmore Lake. Barb Huang, Librarian & past head of Whitmore Lake Community, Scholarship, retired

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