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By Andre Riley, APR
Director of Communications
The 2021-22 school year is an exciting frontier for the students, families, and staff of Baltimore City Public Schools. For the first time in more than a year, the majority of our nearly 77,000 students will build their futures by learning in our classrooms. And, as always, we will work hard to ensure that all students have access to high-quality instruction as we adjust to a variety of new circumstances generated from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we’ve heard from families and community partners throughout the closures, the well-being of children and staff must be a priority. We want you to know that we are committed to maintaining our nationally-recognized record of success in this area. We will continue to implement many of the steps that keep students and staff safe – including the use of masks, screenings, and testing (even when symptoms are not apparent), ample PPE, and daily cleanings. These are proven methods to slowing the spread of the virus that will be continued throughout the 2021-22 school year.
We are equally committed to meeting the needs of students whose learning has been impacted by the pandemic, while charting a new way forward based on the powerful lessons we have learned over the past year. Our Reconnect, Restore, Reimagine plan is a multi-year effort to better meet the needs of our students, cover unfinished learning, and ultimately, support students in reaching their full potential. This plan was developed using your input and feedback, and it will be an important guide towards our continued growth.
We’re anticipating extra excitement and anxiety about returning to school this year. Not only are we heading back after summer break, but many of our students are returning to school buildings for the first time in over a year. We want students, families, and teachers to be informed, fully engaged, and clear about what they will experience as they return to our schools – staff have worked diligently towards planning the reopening of schools, placing emphasis upon the following:
- The instructional practices we will use to accelerate and personalize learning.
- The enriched academic, athletic, and artistic opportunities available to students and families.
- How stakeholder voices will continue to be used to inform decisions.
- How we will continue to support wellness.
- How we will build relationships and trust.
Last year taught us a lot about education: 1) technology can bridge gaps, 2) families and staff need to work as partners in education, 3) flexibility in learning is key to reaching hard-to-reach students, and 4) our young people are stronger than we could have ever imagined. Our goal for moving forward is to take these lessons and make our school system stronger and better for all students and families.
On behalf of our principals, teachers, and staff, I thank you for trusting us with the education of your children. We look forward to accomplishing great things this year, together!