Our Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) community is doing remarkable work under extremely demanding circumstances.
It has only been a few days since the closure of Kansas school buildings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Already, the school experience looks very different. But, in many ways, we are who we always have been.
Shawnee Mission is a strong, kind, and caring community, committed to the well-being of every child. We see it now more than ever.
We are finishing our first week of Continuous Learning, and I’m impressed to see how education is being delivered in this new environment. Our administrators, teachers and students, despite building closures, have found meaningful ways to connect. They are inspiring learning using a variety of strategies, including digital and paper. We are grateful to them and to all family members, who while working through their own challenges and life circumstances, are serving as crucial partners in this endeavor.
SMSD staff members have worked tirelessly to support our community in a wide variety of ways. Our nurses have been fielding the county COVID-19 hotline (913-715-2819) to answer questions and provide factual health information. They have fielded thousands of calls in support of health and wellness in our community. Custodians have protected our health and safety by deep cleaning all of our facilities. Our Information and Communication Technology (ICT) team continues to provide daily troubleshooting assistance to our over 27,500 students and their parents along with nearly 4,000 staff members. The student and family services team is providing social-emotional support and education. The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation is seeking support for its Cares Fund in order to help our families in need. Students continue to be fed, thanks to the dedication and support of food service staff, who have distributed thousands of breakfast and lunch meals.
These are just a few of the many examples of members of our team, working to ensure our mission continues.
We face challenges ahead, to be sure, but we must acknowledge how far we’ve come in a very short amount of time.
The gratitude I am feeling was expressed well by students who were picking up food at one of our school sites. They decorated their family vehicle with artwork saying “Thank you” to those who served them meals. I want to echo the words of these students. On behalf of the Board of Education and district staff, thanks to everyone on our staff and in our community for your patience and support, and for all you do on behalf of our children.
Our community is strong because we work together, and that will see us through these unprecedented times. Stay strong, stay safe, and stay home.