In the past few weeks, I have watched our county became more divided than I’ve ever witnessed. While we all may have strong feelings about issues surrounding our children, I’d like to take a moment to express gratitude for the outstanding job our teachers and administration, under the direction of Dr. Andrea Whitmarsh, did during unprecedented difficult circumstances.
Greene County Public Schools (GCPS) was only one of four school divisions across the state that was able to offer in-person instruction five days a week to our kids PK-5, and remain open with no long-term shutdowns for the duration of the school year. As an employee, I had a front row seat to the massive undertaking of providing appropriate mitigation strategies to keep everyone safe. Absolutely every possible mitigation was covered, and our kids were able to stay in school. The planning and implementation of such a bold, but measured, plan has been the hallmark of my experience in Greene under the leadership of Dr. Whitmarsh. Truly, we are encouraged to create new where old systems don’t work, to think innovatively and to make learning happen for all kids. When the pandemic hit, we were perfectly poised to take on the biggest struggle of our professional lives.
As a parent, my children are far better off at the beginning of this year than other kids across the country whose school systems couldn’t tackle the immediate change of course necessary. Not only that, but Dr. Whitmarsh worked to put multiple supports in place for kids returning to school, recognizing the mental health challenges that the pandemic ushered in. I know my children have what they need to overcome learning loss and to deal with the still unpredictable challenges ahead.
The children of Greene County are truly lucky to have a group of such dedicated and resourceful teachers and support professionals. I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Whitmarsh, teachers, and every other employee of GCPS for providing our students the best possible options under the worst possible circumstances. It was, and continues to be, nothing short of astounding.