As we near the close of another year in Halifax County Schools during this pandemic, we are cognizant of the journey.
We recognize that we have been through good times and bad times. Life is not perfect! We will never be able to ignore complaints, burdens, or fear of the unknown, however, there is new hope at the end of each day.
When I look at life as a whole, I think of “gratitude”. Gratitude is a word that communicates thankfulness and appreciation and is an affirmation of goodness happening on behalf of someone else. Through gratitude, we can affirm that there are good things in the world and I can definitely confirm that good things are happening in Halifax County Schools.
We are thankful and appreciative of all acts of kindness as we strive to support our students during this unprecedented time. We acknowledge the need to provide quality instruction through innovative “out-of-the-box” thinking. Challenges in many areas have opened opportunities for everyone, and as I reflect over the course of this pandemic, the thought that comes to mind is leveraging our focus to develop a pathway forward.
Gratitude: Thankful and Appreciative!
At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, we issued a Chromebook to all 2,190 students in grades K-12. As insurance for damages and repairs, we implemented a $40 accidental damage protection plan. At the onset, we asked ourselves, how do we turn this challenge into an opportunity to teach our students high tech skills while at the same time repairing broken devices? Through collaborative thinking, a new vision emerged through the creation of the Information Technology Help Desk.
The implementation of the IT Help Desk will give our students an opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills required to identify basic computing, IT infrastructure, software development, and database fundamentals. The curriculum is also designed for students to develop the ability to demonstrate knowledge and skills to install software, establish basic network connectivity, and identify or prevent basic security risks. English, mathematics, and science are also re-enforced. Through partnerships, contributions, and special funds, students will also be paid at least $8 per hour and will have an opportunity to receive industry-recognized credentials. Gratitude!
As I view various social media platforms, I see beautiful examples of how a difficult situation has brought out the very best in people. I see students smiling and making the most out of this experience, parents working with their children at the dinner table, and teachers reinventing themselves to ensure that students are receiving a positive and meaningful education amidst our new normal.
Thank you to the students, principals, teachers, staff, parents and the community for responding heroically and for your commitment and dedication. We must tend to our emotional and physical health and cling tightly to patience, resilience, and kindness as we move through these unchartered waters. I challenge you to embrace an attitude of gratitude for together, we will survive. We are Halifax! We are Strong! We are a Resilient Community!
With cautious predictions and concerns and for pandemic safety, Thanksgiving 2020 for most of the country will look and feel different. Thanksgiving is an important holiday because it’s positive and it’s when we celebrate gratitude. It is also a celebration of the fall harvest and the beginning of the winter holiday. When I think exclusively about Halifax County Schools I have, without doubt, an attitude of gratitude. I am appreciative! I am thankful!
Eric Cunningham is the superintendent of Halifax County Schools.