As we plan forward and begin to envision what the 2021-22 educational landscape might look like, we must begin by taking stock of all that we have learned from March 15, 2020 to our present-day about our students, their lives, our families, their lives, about us, and our lives, what we value, respect, how we learn, how our students learn, etc. As a result of this learning, we must ask ourselves what have we learned about connecting with our students, the strategies that have worked for us, the learning that has been mastered remotely, and the relationships that we have secured with the families of our students. We must also begin to identify those things that we have learned and want to continue to develop as a result of our learning. As we plan forward collectively, we must think about how we will hold true to our priorities, how we will build intentional relationships with our students, how we will partner with the adults and home, how we plan to revise our curriculum units to ensure student engagement, voice and self-regulation, how we will manage time across a day and week, how we will support students’ independent practices at home, and the methods and structures we will use to educate our students.

As we venture into a very promising year, we must aim in creating educationally safe learning communities where all students are seen, heard, valued, and respected. We must strive to continue to use all that we have learned this school year to begin creating a new type of learning environment that better serves our diverse student population. We must ensure that we create a sense of belonging where our student’s voices are heard and honored. As a result we must start to rethink how we will begin to teach so that our students can self-regulate their learning, continue to leverage the 21st century technology systems learned, and how we plan on sharing instructional time so that our students can lead their own learning forward. We must also plan on providing a socially just and culturally responsive atmosphere that is inclusive for everyone. These are just some of my thoughts as we begin to rethink education at YCS forward. I look forward to holding discussions with you as we move forward.

Carlos Lopez — Assistant Superintendent