The first week of May is Teacher Appreciation Week, a time to commemorate the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of the more than 3.7 million teachers across the country who ensure that our children acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school and life.
While this is an annual commemoration, our teachers and staff deserve our thanks and praise every day. They are among the heroes who continue to work diligently through the pandemic to support our students while managing their own challenges. When the governor closed schools to mitigate COVID-19 transmission, our teachers stepped up, and in a few short days, developed a plan to continue instruction while our support staff made sure our students had access to technology and meals.
Just a few short weeks ago, we welcomed more than 8,000 students back to school. Together, our dedicated teachers, school administrators and support staff ensured that our students had a great transition from home to school-based learning. Our students were not only returning to school for math or science lessons; they were also returning to learn and grow from a caring adult, a mentor who encourages them and allows them to grow in a safe and nurturing environment.
As I visited schools, I was appreciative to see our schools come back to life. It was nice to see buses on the road again and parents dropping their young ones off in front of our schools. When I went inside, it was obvious that students were happy to finally be in their classrooms. Our custodians, and many of our temporarily assigned bus drivers, did a phenomenal job of getting our schools and classrooms ready for the first day. Our school office staff was up for the challenge, and our building administrators were welcoming and checking on students and staff.
This excitement and enthusiasm reminded me why I chose a career in education. I can honestly say that I felt our staff’s sense of dedication and commitment to our students.
Our returning students were eager to meet their teachers and see their friends. While school may look and feel differently because of masks and physical distancing, the excitement and camaraderie of being back in the school building filled our classrooms and hallways. The enthusiasm was complemented by the excitement and welcoming cheers from our teachers and staff. Like any other first day of school, there was an air of excited anticipation as teachers and students met for the first time in person. Smiles may have been concealed by masks, but they couldn’t contain the joy that radiated from our students and teachers.
I personally thank all of our educators for their ongoing commitment to our students’ academic and social development. Each day, they engage students, families and staff to ensure that all of our students receive high-quality instruction that prepares them to graduate college, career and citizen-ready.
To our dedicated team of educators, thank you for all you do! Today and every day, you truly make difference.