June 23, 2020 — End of Year Message
June 23, 2020
I have written a few end-of-year messages throughout my career, but this one is different. Because, as we all know, the 2019-20 school year was unusual!
Just 10 months ago, we began the year with typical, annual goals for the students and for ourselves. As always, we put in many hours of preparation and on September 5, we welcomed the students back to school. The year progressed as usual, through the busy first marking period, Thanksgiving, the holiday break, and then into the New Year 2020.
We faced our normal share of success and challenges, but overall, things were progressing nicely. And then, abruptly, the coronavirus pandemic intervened. Those days immediately before and after March 13 were confusing and, to a degree, rather frightening. Like our colleagues around the state and country, we suddenly were immersed in virtual learning for more than 10,000 students.
Each and every one of us employed by New Brunswick Public Schools, more than 2,000 in all, were engaged in a daunting and remarkable undertaking. We did not know what to expect, at least in the beginning, and much of what we did from March through June 22 was developed along the way. We strategized, we improvised, and we persevered.
We created new methods of instruction on the fly, we adapted, and our students learned! It wasn’t an ideal instructional environment, but we worked together as a district-wide team to provide our students with the best educational experience possible. It was an amazing professional effort and I’m humbled and immensely proud of what all of you accomplished!
Sadly, some of us and our students experienced health challenges and losses during the pandemic. It was a nerve-racking time, and the risk is still with us. So, we must be as careful as possible, practice appropriate safety protocols, and be mindful of our colleagues and young people who are dealing with the most serious issues presented by the coronavirus. I know our thoughts and prayers are with them.
As September approaches, the specific circumstances under which we will work and teach are still unknown. But unlike March, we have little reason for concern because in the past three months we have learned definitively how exceptional we are as individuals and as a team. So, I already know we will do just fine. In fact, whatever the 2020-21 school year brings, I know that we and our students will absolutely excel.
Now, summer has finally arrived. With great appreciation in my heart, I wish all of you a break that is as recuperative and rejuvenating as possible. I trust you will spend as much time as possible with family and friends, and do some things that you truly love. You have earned it for sure!
Dr. Aubrey A. Johnson
Superintendent of Schools