Dear GUSD families,
We have officially crossed a mythical finish line as we say good-bye to the first semester of the 2020-21 school year. What an adventure it has been! I know the last four months have been challenging in so many ways, but it’s important that we acknowledge the lessons we all have learned and celebrate our successes as we look back. As a Superintendent for 21 years, I never would have imagined that we could have transitioned almost 11,000 students and more than 550 teachers and countless other support staff members to a fully virtual educational platform, and yet we have. Our students have demonstrated resiliency and flexibility, and have shown that their grasp of technology extends far beyond a video game console or tablet, even at our earliest grade levels. Our teachers have consistently amazed me with their commitment to our students and their ability to connect with them on many levels even in a virtual classroom. Our district leaders and other staff members have stepped up in so many ways, and filled roles beyond their job descriptions and occasionally beyond their comfort levels, all to ensure that our district and school communities can continue to operate effectively and provide an excellent education for our students. And our families have given their unwavering support, constant encouragement, and endless hours to support their children and our employees. I am so grateful for all of your contributions as we continue on this journey.
As we transition to this well-deserved holiday break and two glorious weeks off, I hope you’ll take time to breathe. Final assignments, tests and projects have been completed. Enjoy the small moments with your children over these next two weeks, together, and at home. There are many memories to create. While this holiday season certainly looks different than we ever could have imagined, I hope you will all commit to staying home, with just the people in your household, as we try to slow the spread of the virus. I know we are all missing the familiarity and connection of the holiday season, but it is so important to remember that the choices we make now will have a great impact in the future.
We are all looking for answers to the questions that hang overhead. I wish we had answers for them, but I know that the guidance of the medical professionals and scientists who are experts are giving us the tools we need to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.
As we look toward 2021, my hope for all of you is continued health and grace. I know that parenting in a pandemic, with children at home, while trying to fulfill your other duties as a spouse, employee, and caretaker, comes with no instruction manual. I hope you’ll allow yourself the occasional misstep and learning opportunity as you do with your children. You are your children’s greatest teacher and you are doing the best that you can for them.
My thoughts are with each of you this holiday season. I hope you find time to connect, laugh and celebrate all that we are blessed with, even as this holiday season is so different than the ones we are used to enjoying. My hope is that 2021 brings us more answers than questions, and more peace than uncertainty.
Have a wonderful holiday and a blessed new year.
Deborah A. Flores
Gilroy Unified School District
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