JACKSON CENTER — The 2019-2020 school year was a time of great change for the students, staff and community of Jackson Center.
“Our staff and students spent the spring of 2020 in quarantine along with the rest of Ohio’s citizens and people across the country,” said William Reichert, superintendent of Jackson Center Schools. “Our students lost the opportunity to have traditional classrooms, field trips, sporting events, Prom, graduation and many more experiences. We also lost members of our community that will be missed for many years to come. Those losses led to a great deal of heartbreak and disappointment throughout the spring and into the summer as exemplified by the sixth-grade writing assignment, ‘goodbye 2020.’ Needless to say, most of our sixth graders were happy when 2020 came to an end.”
His report continues:
However, 2020 fostered a renewed sense of resiliency and determination amongst our students, staff and community. Even in the spring, we were able to pull multiple positive changes out of what seemed to be a spiral of bad news. The goal became to not only weather the storm, but become better as a district and community. We are proud to say that we have improved our understanding of the positive uses of technology, we have increased our willingness to learn more about science and question the media and those that make decisions on our behalf and we have deepened our sense of empathy for those that have struggled with the virus or the results of the shut downs and mandates.
When August rolled around, we (as a community) chose to be in school five days a week since our assigned starting date. We are grateful to our state government that we were able to make that decision for ourselves, we are grateful to our parents and our teachers for their support when we made that decision and we are grateful to the other schools in Shelby County and surrounding areas that have chosen to do the same. If we believe that the best education takes place within the walls of our school, then we need to live it and the show of solidarity among the schools of Western Ohio has been tremendous.
Being in school five days a week in 2020 has not been without its challenges. Navigating mandates, recommendations, insinuations and sometimes blank stares has been less than easy, but most of the time our students have done their part and as a result been able to experience some normalcy in their everyday lives and their after school events. Our students have discovered that while the wheels of science and discovery may turn slowly, the wheels of government move even slower and we need to react accordingly. Those painful wheels might be in relation to mask wearing, cancelled school events or postponed personal gatherings like holidays and family parties. Academically, we have progress monitoring tools that tell the story of how missing in person school in the spring hurt the expected progress of our students. However, I am extremely proud that much of the learning that was lost has been made up. I am also proud that currently when a student is forced to quarantine, our teachers have almost mastered the ability to keep them up to speed and virtually (literally) in their class.
Finally, I am happy to say that it seems that the end to this tumultuous year is in sight. Whether one believes in the effectiveness of the vaccine or believes in natural herd immunity or a little bit of both, there are signs of normalcy that are appearing every day. As that happens, it will be the goal of Jackson Center Schools to remind our students to continue to grow and learn and most importantly, replace the bitterness of the last year with great perspective and wisdom.
Please visit our webpage at www.jctigers.org to discover all that Jackson Center schools has to offer.