By Bill Carlson, Middle School Assistant Principal
As an administrator, leading faculty, staff, and students through a successful and safe school year has always been job number one. This academic year has by far been the most challenging I have witnessed in my 40 years of education. My belief in ‘student first’ education has always been resolute. The biggest challenges to this are typically budget cuts and staff shortfalls; but not this year, this year those ‘typical’ challenges are nearly exempt from making the top 10 list of current challenges facing students, parents, and educators.
If you are an average student and are struggling with distance and hybrid learning, you are not alone. Truth be known, many of our district’s students with high GPA’s are finding hybrid and distant learning to be a significant challenge. Being ‘in’ school is central and relative to the success of most students, regardless of your GPA. Therefore, it is extremely important that we work together utilizing all the available tools and resources to support ‘student first’ education until we are able to return to in-person learning.
Hutchinson Middle School has adjusted many things to support student’s education during this time; however, we have not changed our expectation for students giving their best effort. Parents and guardians, I encourage you to become familiar with your student’s classroom schedule and assigned practice assignments (formerly known as homework). You can find this information on Google Classroom. If you are unfamiliar with Google Classroom, your student should be able to help you, as it is the same app they use to access this information. Knowing your student’s class schedule and the expectations of your student’s educators will allow you to be a more informed partner in their education. Touching base with your student throughout the day is helpful in ensuring they are on time for class and on task for practice assignment completion. Tiger Portal is another helpful tool for those partnering with their student’s education. Tiger Portal provides information on class attendance, practice assignment completion, and student assessments/tests. If you need any assistance with Google Classroom or Tiger Portal, please do not hesitate to contact the HMS office; we are here for you.
One last point I want to make to parents and education partners: middle school students are bright, resilient, and capable of many things. It is not necessary to lower expectations during this time. Being understanding and present to your student is of great benefit, letting them know you are available and you understand that they are under stress may bridge a gap for open communication and requests for assistance. HMS has help available for students who need additional support for social and emotional concerns. Again, we are here for you.
Online education is difficult for educators as well as students and parents. I ask that all parents/education partners consider this when finding themselves frustrated with the current education model. Our teachers are hurting too. HMS has a dedicated, hardworking staff who are here for you and your students. The nation’s Covid-19 mantra has been, “We’re all in this together” and that could not be more accurate for HMS students, parents, faculty and staff. We can do this.