Greetings Community Members,
I want to thank our teachers, students, and parents for another wonderful year. This community inspires me every day to lead from behind to support the teachers who are shaping the minds of the future.
Each year, we handle both short-term and long-term issues. Thankfully, this holiday season has awarded me with some downtime to reflect on some of the long-term issues that often hinder the development of our children. They include COVID, emotional development, and food insecurity.
COVID Pandemic Response
We are now entering our second year in a pandemic. Some of our elementary students might not remember a time before COVID! Based on the latest numbers, we see that the new variant resulted in another blow to our families and community. I understand that many of you might be concerned about the safety of your children and the school employees.
The last couple of years have been hard on our students, we, as educators see this first hand. A bus driver might notice an otherwise bubbly student suddenly and repeatedly showing signs of depression. Teachers may zero in on a problem if a student, who routinely participates in class conversations, is withdrawn.
Emmett School District requires all employees to complete online safety training classes to recognize different situations where students need more than a classroom lesson.
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. The kids spend 8 hours a day at school but now, over the holiday break, they don’t have the peer interaction and consistent routine.
Let’s face it, school provides a social life for most of our school-aged children. Daily interactions with friends and classmates can be uplifting. Even a long holiday break that most of us crave can be difficult for some students who have no other way to interact with people their own age. I encourage you to engage with your children over the break to avoid kids feeling isolated or blue due to the weather. If you notice a problem, we have a wide variety of tools and resources to support your student.
Food insecurity has been growing in the Emmett Community since the pandemic. In the Emmett School District, we don’t want any kids to go hungry. The free breakfasts, snacks (at some schools) and lunches mean a lot to students.
Taking this program to the next level, the Idaho Food Bank provides food for backpacks to send home with students over the weekends in cases of need.
Thanks to a United Way grant, Kenneth J. Carberry Elementary school also serves as a Community School and provides assistance where possible. Except for the Christmas holiday when larger amounts of food were provided to families in need, food boxes are distributed weekly at the Carberry Community School Food Pantry.
Amy Burr is the District Community School Coordinator and works with all of our district’s schools to help identify the needs of the students and families within the school community and connect them to needed resources. She also reaches out to Emmett businesses and organizations that can partner with the Community School.
Several clubs, including Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis, routinely hold drives to gather warm blankets and clothing to distribute to those in need. Afterall, who better to identify those in need than the caring staff and teachers at our schools who connect with students on a first-hand basis?
I’m grateful for our employees who understand their roles as educators, but also as caring individuals who build positive relationships with students and make a difference for students in ways that we may never be able to document.
Most of our employees, including teachers, will be back Thursday, January 6th, for more professional development and preparation before students return to the classrooms on Monday, January 10th.
Thank you and have a wonderful New Year.