April 2, 2020
To view the update video, click here.
These are uncertain times for everyone. Some in our community are dealing with family health issues, some are on the front lines fighting COVID-19, while others are working to balance the well-being of their family with their child's learning and their own work.
During times like these, we must come together and reach deeply into our reserves of courage. A dear friend of mine shared this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Our mascot, the Wolverine, is known for being fierce in the face of a threat. Like our beloved Wolverine, let’s commit to being strong in the face of uncertainty, and led by our mission and core values, let’s also be wise, empathetic and understanding.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — we are here for you and your family. This three-week sprint we’ve been on is now turning into a marathon. I know you heard that Governor Kemp has closed public schools for the remainder of this school year. While this is very hard to hear, we believe this action is wise. Walker will, therefore, extend distance learning for the rest of the school year. Of course, this has a major impact on so many families, teachers, students. We will walk through this together.
This news also impacts many school-related events, celebrations, and traditions, and we are working to communicate with you about each of these spring events — from the Kindergarten Celebration to Graduation.
To the Class of 2020, please know that we are working diligently to ensure that you are honored and celebrated. Our community loves you and supports you, and we know it hurts not to have the senior events you’ve always looked forward to. While we can't guarantee when graduation will happen, we are committed to honoring you in person when it is safe for us to come together as a community.
Our faculty has done an incredible job of pulling together positive learning experiences for our students across all divisions. Like you, I am so proud of their efforts. In light of the governor’s call to stay sheltered and continue learning online, and given the valuable feedback we received from our Walker parents about the online learning experience, we will be using Monday, April 13, the Monday after Spring Break, as a Professional Development Day to help us map out the final six weeks of school.
With Spring Break upon us tomorrow, we recognize there are two opposing needs in our community: On one hand, our faculty, staff, students and parents need a break from the intensity of the past three weeks; and on the other hand, many parents see the break as a real challenge as they try to forge ahead with their professional work while simultaneously attending to their children. Please know that in addition to the virtual resources that already exist on our website, a team of people at Walker, including students, are working to add more fun activities for students to engage in during Spring Break, if needed. It is our hope that these activities provide opportunities for students to stay engaged during Spring Break and the Professional Development Day.
And, if I may add, don’t be afraid to let your children be bored sometimes. I love this quote from Dorothy Parker: “The cure for boredom is curiosity; there is no cure for curiosity.” Boredom will lead to curiosity if we let it.
This is a lot to take in, and I know we were all dealing with a great deal already. We are planning to have a town-hall webinar on Zoom following Spring Break so that we can come together as a community, share updates, acknowledge our heroes and our challenges, and have a time of question and answer.
I want to close by sharing an idea about parenting in challenging times. One of the best pieces of advice I have heard about leadership in the face of fear, danger, and uncertainty is this: A leader should absorb chaos, project calm, share hope. This is excellent advice for parents, too. As we face uncertainty and fear, we need to model this type of leadership to our children. That is what they will remember the most from this moment in history - how we related to them, how we loved them, how we projected calm and shared hope.
We are Wolverine Strong. Take care.