Considering the cyclical nature of life, the universe, and everything, it’s no wonder the current times we live in resonate with previous eras. Perhaps I am just getting older and have more experiences to draw upon, but I believe it’s more than that. The 1965 song Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds spoke to a country divided by extremes: violent demonstrations, at war in Vietnam, living under the threat of nuclear destruction, and mourning the deaths of a president and civil rights leaders. There was a prevailing sense that the world was off balance, a deepening generational rift, and fear that there was possibly worse to come. The world we live in today, although different, is similarly polarized, off kilter, and poised above a precipice of uncertainty.
“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven”
In the midst of these interesting times, we continue to educate our children. After the unbelievable challenge of educating students through a pandemic, we are facing the new challenge of educating students with unpredictable attendance (due to strict COVID policies regarding attendance), an unprecedented substitute shortage, a community divided under masking and vaccination mandates, a world still healing from a year of isolation and disconnection, and the elephant in the room, addressing learning loss. These would seem to be insurmountable obstacles, and yet, in spite of them, students are making steady academic, social, emotional, and behavioral growth, thanks to the concerted efforts of our EUSD educational staff, families, and wider Escalon community support.
At Van Allen Elementary we have had to make adjustments to our programming to compensate for the learning that was lost over the last year and a half. Developing a master schedule, developing a site specific English Language Development master plan for our English Learners, revamping our intervention program, extending instructional assistant hours, creating a targeted after school program, and creating a Saturday School Program are some of the steps we have taken this year to mitigate learning loss. Will it be enough? Yes, according to our local measures, everything seems to be working and students are making good progress.
In the greater scheme of things, this season of difficulties we are experiencing, although often challenging and discouraging, is teaching us a vital lesson. We must be resilient, we must stay strong, we must deepen our faith, we must be willing to lend a helping hand, and we must strive to connect with our fellow man with acts of kindness and generosity, not just the dollars and cents kind, but generosity of spirit. This way, the children of today who will be the leaders of tomorrow, will learn and grow to understand that the times we live in are what you make of them, and that it is never too late to make a difference.
“A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late”
Principally Speaking is a monthly article, contributed by principals from Escalon Unified School District sites, throughout the school year. It is designed to update the community on school events and activities.