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As we reach the end of the school year, I have found myself commenting that this has been the longest school year of my career as an educator. This observation has been met by almost universal agreement. It seems like eons ago that we were hearing about the Delta variant of COVID-19 and realizing that our return to school in late August was not going to be business as usual. That, in fact, turned out to be an understatement.

The impact of COVID-19 this year was more disruptive than the previous year and a half. Our doors were open every day, regardless of what was happening with the virus. This left us riding the waves of cases moving through the community and schools. We experienced the highest student and staff absences ever and this led to notable daily challenges with how to provide a consistent educational program to our students.

And through it all, our teachers and staff worked diligently to do their best for their students. Despite the pandemic restrictions, many children are doing well and have been ready and eager to learn. Other children are struggling for myriad reasons created by the disruption of the traditional classroom environment and the greater impact of the pandemic on their lives. Our work is not finished and we are already thinking about how we best meet student needs next year.

As we close out the year, I am thrilled that all six of our BRSU schools held spring concerts to showcase the talent of our students and have them shared publicly with our community. Seeing the smiles on the faces of our children and families and watching children showcase their talents has been an especially touching way to close out the school year.

I could not be more proud of the work of our students, teachers, staff, administrators, school board members, parents, and entire community. There is not enough time or space for me to list out the countless ways in which people have stepped up, shown up, and exceeded expectations. The large and small actions of many have made a difference and not gone unnoticed. We have an incredible community.

Randi Lowe is Superintendent of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union.


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