The 2020-21 school year has undoubtedly been a memorable one. Like school districts across the country, we faced innumerable challenges, many of which were particularly difficult for families, as we navigated the best way to serve and protect our children and staff amid a global pandemic.
Today, we stand at the finish line, and despite the challenges and the stress of this past year, there were so many accomplishments that continued our work to improve student outcomes. Our teachers and staff provided extraordinary in-person and virtual learning experiences and support services for students and families.
We culminated the year by hosting graduations in person at the Apple Bowl for over 450 Wenatchee High School seniors and on the grounds of WestSide High School for the first time ever for 100 graduates. I want to acknowledge the tremendous effort and level of care that staff put into making these events special and memorable for graduates and their families. From the precision lining of hundreds of chairs to the thoughtful setup of audiovisual equipment, our WSD staff truly went above and beyond. I couldn’t be more proud of every one of our classified and certificated staff who contributed to the success of each graduating senior who walked across the stage.
Now, as we begin preparations for the fall, the Wenatchee School District WILL open up for full-time, in-person instruction on August 25 for all students K-12. We will also continue to offer enrollment in our Wenatchee Internet Academy for those families who prefer the online learning environment. Over the summer, as the state begins to refine guidance on masking, social distancing, and the like, we will share updates and information with our staff and parents as we near the start of the school year.
Another area I want to celebrate is the work behind our strategic plan. The school board, stakeholder team, and staff workgroups have leaned into drafting a new five-year plan that is both self-reflective and forward-thinking. Through cross-team collaboration and feedback over the last seven months, we have been able to develop a framework that will drive our work. Later this month, we will present the framework to the Board, however, the work does not end there. As we look toward the fall, staff, parents, and the community will have an opportunity to further engage in the final stages of the strategic plan development process. This work is too important to rush.
Finally, I want you to know how humbled I am by the commitment, flexibility, and strength that our parents, students, and staff have demonstrated, outside of school and at home, to ensure our students continue to have access to the educational experiences and the support needed at a time of great adversity. I am beyond grateful for your efforts.
Thank you and I wish you all a safe and restful summer.
Dr. Paul Gordon