I’m thankful for all that NISD has done

I’m thankful for all that NISD has done
Posted on 11/19/2020
I’m thankful for all that NISD has done

There’s little doubt our teachers, students and their parents are ready for the Thanksgiving break that begins when school lets out Friday. All of us, I dare say, are ready.

I can declare with absolute confidence, that in my lifetime, there’s never been another year like 2020. Our community, our state and our nation have been put through the wringer on any number of levels.

The COVID-19 pandemic that set upon us with stunning ferocity back in March shows no signs of abating in the near future. Promise of vaccines is on the horizon, but we must keep up our guard against COVID fatigue, holding firm to the rope of safe practices that include proper social distancing and wearing masks.

There’s still so much for which to offer thanks at this holiday time that’s upon us... the perfect opportunity to specify many of the reasons I’m grateful this season.

For one thing, our teachers have been fearless, willingly tackling a seemingly endless string of calamities, all while faced with their own fearfulness that’s come with the coronavirus.

If you know a teacher, thank them now. In a remarkably short amount of time, teachers have seen their profession turned on its head. First came all the headaches associated with closing schools last spring. Turned out, that was just the beginning.

The prospects involved with closing school were dwarfed by the challenge of reopening the doors this fall. Schools across the nation… across the world… had to reinvent – and sometimes create on the fly – standards and methods for which we would now use to teach our children.

Back in the spring and then again this fall, district leaders here and around the state and the nation struggled with solving the problem of how best to pull off school. Along the way, teachers adjusted to the problems at hand, because that’s what they do. It really comes as no surprise. Spend any time in a modern classroom, and you’ll gain an appreciation (not to mention, an entirely new perspective) for a teacher’s workday.

Along with the immense effort of our teachers, it’s impossible to ignore the impact on operations from other frontline staff. Counselors, social workers, librarians, aides and other campus staff have had to overcome many of the same difficulties.

When the pandemic first exploded on the scene during Spring Break, our student nutrition department changed tactics with barely a moment’s notice and began preparing meals-to-go for students suddenly shut-off from campus cafeterias.

Those programs provided by NISD staff carried on for the remainder of the school year, then kept right on going through the summer months. It was our own cafeteria workers on the frontlines, and NISD’s children are the better for it.

Today, student nutrition staff continues to work within the narrow confines of a global pandemic, providing breakfast in the morning and lunch at noon for children whose best hope for nutritious meals comes from public schools.

NISD nurses are faced with their own challenges with COVID-19 while also handling all the normal illnesses, cuts and bruises that occur when school is in session.

The district technology department continues to manage and oversee distribution of thousands of devices for students and staff, while also ironing out the problems that invariably arise with the introduction of new software tools.

NISD’s custodial crews provide the kind of support that’s of indispensable and crucial importance to the safety and success of the school day. Cleaning classrooms and campus commons areas has always been a basic safeguard for students and staff; in light of today’s global emergency, it can be the difference between health and not.

NISD bus drivers continue to run routes, carrying students to and from the school, while operating under guidelines that could hardly be imagined a year ago. District plant services and facilities departments have remained engaged with contractors as new construction around the district moves forward.

The influence of the coronavirus on our district has found its way into every department, both large and small. Campus and district administrators have sweated out seemingly a thousand details, first those related to closing school in March, then, later on, to reopening. Along those same lines, our board of trustees entered every discussion unified in its belief of doing what’s best for the safety and well-being of staff and students.

There’s simply no way to overstate my thankfulness for the team that makes up NISD. The district has risen to everything the occasion required. Every time. And students and parents deserve acknowledgement for meeting a challenge that’s proving to be beyond words.

At this time of Thanksgiving, I wish all of you a wonderful and safe holiday and offer my own thanks to all that is Nacogdoches Independent School District.

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