Ukiah Unified School District

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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk Blog: Parents are welcome back on campus

I’ve spent some time reflecting on the state of the world and the impact this pandemic has had on our social-emotional well-being and relationships. As a nation, we are unfortunately polarized and divided. It is more important than ever that we serve as models of hope, compassion, empathy, encouragement, and support for our children and each other. It’s also important to bring our focus back to our principal missions of academics and social-emotional health.

Although there are some benefits to the digital world, it often creates a divide where people’s relationships and connections begin to erode. Social media was a way to connect during the pandemic, and in some instances, it negatively influenced our children’s mental health. Looking at someone over a computer screen, communicating through email, text, and telephone only, and not being able to see people face to face can have a dehumanizing effect. Civility and respect are paramount for well-being and happiness, and unfortunately, we have experienced much of the opposite lately. 

Civility comes more easily with tight connections to those we love and to the groups we belong to. Without the usual in-person connection to our schools, parents and families have missed out on the experience and incredible energy of our learning environments and campus life. We are excited to begin welcoming our parents and community back into our schools in person so they can feel more connected to our school communities. With masks being strongly encouraged yet not required and our case rates plummeting, it is the perfect time to do this. 

We are hosting open houses right now, so parents and our community can see our beautiful faces and the great work our teachers and staff do on a daily basis with our children. Through these welcoming events, we can begin to break down any barriers that have been developed over the past two years when it has been necessary not to allow parents and other visitors on our campuses.

The way our children learn to act as we open up after the pandemic is up to all of us. We can choose to be models of hope, compassion, empathy, encouragement, and support, and the kids will follow our lead.

This quote by Haim Ginott often reminds me of what’s most essential and helps me understand the great responsibility we all have to our children, “I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”

Thank you for everything you do to support children and education in our community! If you want to volunteer at one of our schools, please reach out to your child’s school or call 707-472-5005.