It’s hard to believe we made it to the end of another school year! Students, parents, and educators say things like this at the close of each year, but it’s especially true this year. What a blur it’s been. The range of emotions and amount of change we have endured has been monumental. We are very excited that graduations and promotions for our middle and high school students are being held in person this year! When you think of where we were a year ago, you realize we’ve traveled a long way on our journey back to “normal”.
When I look back over this tough and unique school year, I couldn’t be more proud of how we never gave up hope, and all worked together to do what’s best for our kids. I am in awe of how our staff stepped up to provide the best possible education for our students during an unbelievably challenging time. In the face of a deadly worldwide pandemic, they kept their focus on our children’s success, safety, and education. Thank you for your dedication and hard work.
Many deserve praise and thanks for their efforts during the pandemic, and parents are at the top of the list. In addition to working from home or enduring the stress of unemployment, parents took on distance learning roles and responsibilities they never imagined possible.
We couldn’t have done this without our community partners. Thank you to Mendocino County, the City of Ukiah, Adventist Health, Assemblymember Wood, and Senator McGuire for your support and dedication. Thank you to the Ukiah Unified Board of Trustees for your tireless service and commitment to Ukiah Unified students, families, and staff.
Despite all of the challenges we have been through together over the past year, we can celebrate many successes and triumphs too. In response to the pandemic, our staff partnered with families in new and creative ways to inspire our students, and together we moved mountains.
With the help of our transportation superheroes and other Ukiah Unified staff, our all-star food service staff distributed enough food to prepare over 1.5 million meals for families throughout our community this year. They passed out an incredible 764,911 gallons of milk and 860,525 pounds of vegetables and fruit. Thank you to our Food Services Director, Lenea Pollett, and her team for their commitment to keeping our families fed!
Seventy Ukiah Unified staff members were trained as COVID-19 testers and have administered over 13,163 tests to students and staff since we started COVID-19 testing on February 28, 2021. 9,564 student tests and 3,599 staff tests were completed. Thank you to Assistant Superintendent Nicole Glentzer and all of our COVID-19 testing team!
A diverse team at Ukiah Unified made over 1,000 home visits, reaching out to families, helping with social-emotional issues, solving problems, and re-engaging those who weren’t showing up for distance learning. Tens-of-thousands of phone calls were also made to keep students engaged and check in on families. Thank you to Jason Iverson, Director of Student Services, our school site administrators, our counselors, and the Student Services team for their compassion and tenacity.
Information Technology staff at Ukiah Unified helped us continue our commitment to technology by providing a Chromebook for every one of our scholars. That’s over 6,000 Chromebooks! In addition, they deployed 1,242 Hot Spots so our families could stay connected. These network super-stars even made it possible for Ukiah Unified staff to have 109,661 individual Zoom meetings over the last year, totaling 115,463,846 meeting minutes. Phew!
Our high school and middle school sports teams engaged in over 200 competitions in a little over two months. Each sport squeezed in as much of a season as they could in just a few weeks. Close to 500 student-athletes were involved. Pulling this off is a fantastic exercise in organization, patience, and compromise. Thank you to UHS Athletic Director Stephen Summers, our coaches, and staff for giving Ukiah Unified athletes the support they need to thrive. Thank you to our students, especially those playing indoor sports who were COVID tested daily in order to practice and compete. We are looking forward to regular sports seasons and schedules starting next fall!
Partnerships with the City of Ukiah’s Summer Safari, SPACE, and the Boys & Girls Club of Ukiah allowed us to serve approximately 440 students in after-school programs! Our own Ukiah Unified students served as mentors in the after-school programs for our younger students. Nothing could have been better for our kids than singing, dancing, acting, making art, and playing games to break up the isolation they experienced during the pandemic. Thank you to everyone at SPACE and the City of Ukiah’s Summer Safari program for making a big difference in the lives of our students.
Finally, to our students, you have endured so much over the last fourteen months, and you have persevered. It has been painful at times to watch you struggle and so beautiful to watch you come out of the struggle and continue to keep your kind hearts and your sharp minds moving toward your goals. I want you to know that we see you, we love you, and we will continue to be here for you through this pandemic and after it is over.
Yes, we made it to the end of a school year like no other! I can’t reiterate enough that this has been tough on everyone. We haven’t been perfect, but we all learned and got better along the way. We did the very best we could under challenging circumstances. We cannot wait to welcome our students back to full-time in-person learning, five days a week for all students. For everything each of you has done to make our efforts successful, I thank you!