March 27, 2020

Hello, Polk Families and Community!  This is Aaron Greene with your March 27 update.  You made it through the second week of COVID19 so a big “Happy Friday” to all.  Thank you for your support and patience, and for taking care of your families and each other.

As I take time to reflect on what has transpired over the past two weeks I want to use tonight’s message to say thank you to our wonderful educators and school leaders.  I am so fortunate to work with people who put our students and families first every single day.  When schools closed and we learned our roles and responsibilities would change, our Polk Schools Family answered the call.  Since Monday, March 16 we have prepared and distributed more than 10,000 meals to students and families.  We set up a safe child care center for our health workers and emergency services personnel who are serving on the front lines.  Our educators have contacted every household to check on the health and well being of families and our more than 2,000 students.  We created a comprehensive website with information and links to resources to keep our community updated and connected.  Our teachers and instructional leaders joined to envision and create a new way to facilitate teaching and learning for all students, even those without access to online learning.  We are distributing chromebooks and have installed new antennas so work can be done from our school parking lots.  We are exploring partnerships to try and connect more of our county and families to the internet.  We have teachers reading to students over facetime and the phone, educators posting videos to say hello and we miss you, and counselors calling to let anxious students know everything is going to be alright.  These wonderful people have done all this at a time when they are worried about their own families and loved ones.  Tonight I say job well done to all of our Polk County Schools Family.  You have never exemplified our motto of Doing What’s Right for Students more than these past two weeks.

So if you folks out there are willing, I ask that you tell the stories of these wonderful people.  Maybe go online as some of you already have and share.  Send a thank you to a teacher or foodservice worker over Facebook or email.  Have your kids draw a picture to send over the phone or post a video thanking these wonderful educators.  I know it will make them happy to know their hard work is appreciated. 

And tonight I say thank you to our families and students as well.  You have been patient with us, supportive, and understanding.  Many have volunteered, taken meals or student work to neighbors, or helped deliver information and resources to those who need it.  Thank you, Polk County.

I will leave you with a quote from Robert Ludlum – “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear”.  In a time when we have a choice between hope and fear, I am happy to see so many acts of kindness and love.  That’s how we spread hope and belief in the promise of better times.  Take care of each other and have a good weekend.  Better days are ahead.

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