Superintendent’s Message: Dr. Debbi Burdick , Cave Creek Unified School District

Dr. Debbi Burdick , Superintendent, Cave Creek Unified School District

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely reconfigured not only life as we have known it, but also school as we have known it. We know that our families across the nation are adjusting to many situations, including students learning at home whether through virtual school or in some districts, packets of materials dropped off by school buses. For families with younger children, some parents may still be going to work and not able to assist with schoolwork until evenings or weekends; some parents may be working from home and also not able to help with schoolwork until evenings or weekends. Some families are dealing with illness and schoolwork may take a backseat when health is the priority. All families may feel like they are now homeschooling and stress levels for guardians and students alike are high with this new dimension of what school looks like in the 2020 pandemic.

We are also hearing from our educators that they, too, are feeling this stress and anxiety. Many of them have children themselves and are juggling preparing lessons virtually in new formats, connecting with all of their students and then also trying to guide their own children through “school at home” with school days that then seem to never end. In our “new normal,” we all need to take a breath and realize that we are all doing the best we can in this crisis. That may look different for every household depending on their own situations. Things to remember are:

  • Family health is paramount. Keep everyone in your household protected and supported, including yourself. Many have used the analogy of the putting on the oxygen mask on a plane first — then helping others. The same goes here. Keep yourself well and calm as best as you can and then help your children.
  • Pay attention to stress that your child exhibits with school lessons and expectations. When a student hits the frustration point, it is time to take a break. Take a walk with your student, have them eat a snack, do some yoga together — but don’t keep working on lessons when your student becomes stressed and perhaps you do as well. It is okay to take a break. Our teachers are masters at noticing the signs of student frustrations and then switching gears, picking up with what has become frustrating later in the day or the next day.
  • We have heard from families where parents are working out of the home or in the home, that they cannot assist their students during the “school day.” Again, this is where educators understand that parents and guardians need flexibility that fits their own family situation. Let your teachers or principals know if your household needs an alternative scenario and let them know when you can assist with schoolwork. It may be that the weekend is the time that you are able to assist with work assigned during the week.
  • Finally, although I advocate for flexibility as we move forward, I also know that trying to develop some type of a consistent schedule for “school” at home with your learners may help to keep things moving along and less difficult for guardians and students. Find a place in your home for your student that is conducive to “school” with a place to write, good lighting and a comfortable chair. Who knows, you may get the teaching bug and re-career!

To contact Dr. Burdick, call 480.575.2000. For more information on the Cave Creek Unified School District, visit www.ccusd93.org.

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