Coronavirus Update April 23
Update from the Superintendent of Schools
Update: APRIL 23, 2020
The Power of Imagination and Optimism
“... then they remembered what Frederick had said about sun rays and colors and words...“I gather colors...for winter is gray.” (Leo Lionni) Fredrick, A Fable Retold
Dear Harrison Learning Community,
Week six of Learning From Home is filled with ambiguity, challenge, and promise. Uncertain when schools will reopen, we are adapting approaches to virtual learning and uncovering the possibilities within the minds and hearts of students as we approach the end to an unimaginable school year.
This week I met with Senior Class Officers and members of the high school Student Advisory Board. My meetings were reminiscent of the childhood fable, Frederick, a mouse who holds the heart of a poet. He is a dreamer, possessed of an imagination that allows all around him to experience the world differently. The students I met embodied Frederick’s extraordinary characteristics and brought “sun rays and colors and words” to the discussions. Although they have endured a long, isolating “gray winter,” their hearts are full and imaginations undaunted.
I explored the virtual learning experience with the Student Advisory Board. They offered recommendations to Learning From Home, including the expanded use of interactive platforms to further personalize the learning experience. Our discussion was honest - some things are working, and some things are not. They realized no singular approach to virtual learning will meet the needs of everyone; they are right. The students listened openly to one another, to the principal, and to me. The challenges elementary students face Learning From Home, especially those with working parents, was most important to them, and they are determined to devise a plan to support elementary families. Our students’ ideas were unselfish, imaginative, and beautiful.
I began my conversation with senior class officers about graduation with a heavy heart, few definitive answers, and aware of what was at stake. I had a plan, and our students had a clear sense of what is important to them. They were committed to helping me keep the promise of concluding this school year by filling it with memories both positive and unique. Astonishing and generous, the students’ focused on finding a way to safely bring the Class of 2020 together to celebrate graduation. From the collective imagination emerged a warm and colorful conclusion to their senior year. I will not share these plans; our student leaders will share them first with classmates… And how about the colors, Frederick?... And when he told them of the blue periwinkles, the red poppies in the yellow wheat, and the green leaves of the berry bush, they saw the colors as clearly as if they had painted them in their minds.
As parents and educators, we should feel a wellspring of pride in the character of your children, our students. They lift us all.
Louis N. Wool, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Our Students and Teachers Continue to Amaze
Faculty and students continue to approach each day Learning From Home with passion, creativity and purpose, as is evidenced by the work they have shared with me this week. I am proud to share some of them with you:
Harrison High School music faculty launched QuaranTUNES, a digital platform for sharing music and art in progress. Each week an episode features performances by Harrison artists and musicians and a talkback session with the HHS music team. Listen, learn, and be entertained.
Join Harrison Avenue fifth grade teacher, Mrs. O’Donnell, teaching a live math lesson.
HHS Assistant Principal Laurie Griffo embarked on a journey through her neighborhood for Movement Monday.
Science teachers from HHS and LMK shared how they celebrate Earth Day.
Students in the HHS Drawing and Painting Class were asked, “How can an artist’s perception of the environment affect an audience?” Upstate of Mind reflects HHS student, Julia Bonaiuto’s observation of the world around her.