Dear North Smithfield Families and Staff,
Here we are in the last week of school after what has been a most unusual and challenging school year. But we did it. Together.
I want to take this moment and express my appreciation and thanks to:
Our teachers for their planning, expertise, and drive to meet the needs of our students whether those students were full time distance learners, in-person, hybrid, on quarantine, or every combination imaginable. Even when our teachers were quarantining themselves and attending to sick family members, many continued to teach their students remotely. Their drive and dedication was evident throughout the year.
Our families for their patience and understanding and for working with our teachers on behalf of their students. Even through periods of uncertainty and frustration as we navigated changing situations, infection data, and concerns that we were reopening too quickly, or not quickly enough, our parents were there to support the students. When there were disagreements on our pacing, those disagreements came from a place of concern and advocacy for the children, which is deeply appreciated. Strong advocacy is always preferable over indifference.
Our students for their adaptability and acceptance of new protocols, social groupings, and instructional methods. While some struggled, others proved exceptionally resilient and, with the help of their teachers, families, and friends, continued to excel. We were so happy to see our students return in person and we have great plans for our students over the summer and in the coming years.
Our school counselors, social workers and school psychologists for counseling and comforting our students and families and maintaining personal connections during a school year and pandemic which emphasized social distancing and isolation.
Our custodians for keeping our buildings clean and disinfected, our administrative assistants for keeping our offices open and communicative, and our instructional assistants for supporting our students and teachers in the classrooms and online.
Our technology team for making online instruction possible with technology support and training and providing, troubleshooting, maintaining and improving our networks, bandwidth, audio and video devices, software and systems. They were instrumental in ensuring that anywhere and anytime learning happened.
Our School Committee for their support and advocacy for the students and families for North Smithfield, by working between the school department and the community to provide support, resources, communications, solutions, and insight.
Our administrators, who worked to organize new instructional methods, new health and safety protocols, all the while maintaining our mission of bringing our students in, keeping them safe, making them smarter, and maintaining a sense of calm and community in the face of uncertainty and constant change.
Our bus monitors and drivers who maintained seating charts and quickly pivoted to new routes as their colleagues went in and out of quarantine and still got our students safely to and from school; and our kitchen staff who, despite interrupted deliveries and ingredients, still provided all our students hot and nutritious meals.
…and a special thank you to our nurses. If there ever was a time our schools needed full-time medical and health professionals it was during a pandemic. Whether it was during the school day, during the early morning hours, in the evenings, or over the weekends or school vacations, our nurses were truly amazing at organizing, guiding, screening, contact-tracing, calling, emailing, consulting with the DOH and CDC. They did it all! We owe Mrs. O'Neill, Mrs. Pendergast, and Mrs. Ethier a debt of gratitude.
We look forward to seeing many of our students and teachers in our schools this summer for extra academic and engagement opportunities. We will certainly be busy planning for a fully reopened, refreshed, and responsive new school year.
Have a wonderful, restful and engaging summer and thank you again North Smithfield!
- Michael St. Jean, Superintendent
Michael St. Jean,