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School Desk Blog: Challenges highlight our best qualities

There have been many topics that have sparked disagreement in 2020, but one thing we can all agree upon is that this has been a rough year. In January, when we made our New Year’s resolutions, I would venture to say that none of us had “Become an expert in using Zoom” or “Spend hours at a time in front of the computer” on our lists. I have a long list of complaints about 2020, ranging from canceled family events to having chronically dry hands due to frequent handwashing and hand sanitizer. As a parent and an educator, I’m saddened by all that students have had to miss out on in 2020. 

I could go on with my list of complaints about 2020, but November is a time of gratitude, and there is certainly a lot to be grateful for in Ukiah Unified. The students, staff, and families of UUSD have stepped up to the challenges of 2020 and accomplished so much! 

Our teachers have worked diligently to meet students' needs in Distance Learning. They have learned how to use new teaching tools and how to work with students in a virtual setting. I have observed many classes, and every time I have been astounded at how much energy UUSD teachers put into online instruction. I am grateful for our teachers who have been committed to meeting our students’ needs despite the restrictions in place due to the pandemic. 

Ukiah families have done a lot to support their students in Distance Learning. Households have rearranged furniture and schedules to accommodate their children’s need for a learning space at home. They have learned how to login to Google Classroom, solve Algebra equations, and troubleshoot issues with Chromebooks to support their students’ learning needs. The challenges of Distance Learning have had varying impacts on families. It is inspiring to see the measures they have taken to make sure their children can participate in Distance Learning. 

The classified employees of Ukiah Unified have made significant adjustments to their work to meet students’ needs. They have taken on food distribution, increased cleaning efforts, provided technical support, and increased outreach to students and parents. Our classified employees have proven themselves to be dedicated and willing to do whatever it takes to support students, teachers, and parents. 

Ukiah students have had to give up a lot in 2020. They have missed out on the fun of the last day of school activities, playing with classmates on the playground, and getting to sit in a classroom with their classmates and teacher. Despite all they have missed, our students continue to persevere with Distance Learning. Attendance at school through Distance Learning has been excellent. 

2020 is marked by innumerable challenges that I wish we could have avoided, but those challenges have also highlighted some of the best qualities of our students, staff, and families. It’s not difficult to find something to be grateful for when I consider everything you have all done to help our students during this difficult year.