- Duplin County Schools
Responding To The Challenges of COVID-19
Recent events related to COVID-19 have changed life as we knew it in an instant. What we considered routine has been swiftly interrupted, forcing us to make unforeseen adjustments to our daily plans. However, through these changing times, one thing that remains unchanged is our Board of Education’s commitment to do what is best for every student. I can assure our wonderful students, families, and staff that your health and safety is our main focus. Oftentimes, fear of the unknown forces us to panic and quickly make decisions based on what is appropriate for the moment versus what is best long-term. Our staff has spent countless hours developing a comprehensive plan to reduce any academic gaps during this time. It was important for us to develop a comprehensive plan that provided equitable academic resources and opportunities for all students. We understand their are other pressing questions that our staff is working to address for example graduation, grade promotion, prom, etc. Please remain calm and we promise you that all these questions will be answered in time.
Ensuring a holistic approach to student achievement remains our ultimate goal. The social-emotional health of our students is critical to their ability to focus and learn during this challenging time. As soon as the school closure was announced, our top priority was to connect with our students and families to determine their individual needs. Our principals, teachers, and essential staff members immediately sprang into action reaching out to our students and families. We empathize with our families and leaders agreed that providing student assignments and tasks at the onset of this crisis would have been overwhelming. Families needed our love, support, and prayers.
Another critical need for our students was the provision of meals. Our Child Nutrition Department amplified their efforts and it has been a blessing to have served over 25,000 meals to our students so far. Our school staff has remained faithful every step of the way by working tirelessly to ensure meals are served safely and efficiently. In addition, our principals and staff took advantage of the meal pickup times to connect with families and offer a smile and words of encouragement. While we do not know how long we are going to be able to provide meals, we will always give it our best shot.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, the district-level team and our principals have met daily to strategize and find ways to best meet the needs of our entire school system. With heavy hearts and an enormous workload, principals have continued to stay the course with our mission to put children first. Teachers are working harder than ever to create “school” for our students in these very difficult and trying times. Our unique circumstances require unique solutions. The Curriculum Team, along with input from our Teacher Advisory, remains diligent in their efforts to develop resources that will systematically support the instructional needs of each student. We took a strategic approach to develop equitable STEAMA-based lessons and resources for students that would be unique to our school system. Our educators are amazing, and I know they will rise to this challenge. They truly make our school system the BEST!
We could not have accomplished all that has been done behind the scenes without the extraordinary efforts of all of our departments including Finance, Human Resources, Curriculum/Innovation, Accountability, Athletics, Facilities, Maintenance, Technology, Transportation, Child Nutrition, Pre-K, Student Support Services, Federal Programs, and Exceptional Children. Special Kudos to our Board of Education, local and state health officials, our faith-based leaders, and the entire DCS family! We are in this together!
Above all, we must understand that educating our children is a ministry that drives our mission. It's about having a universal mindset that is driven from our soul, while being led by our heart, to do what is right for all children no matter the circumstances. Let's stand together in humility and stay focused on putting our children first no matter what. God bless you and protect you today and always!
Your humble servant,