Between Grief and Joy

May 14, 2020, by Sandii Buckman

In the first several weeks after our county and state agencies declared the need for campus closures, we were in survival mode. Now that the adrenaline has worn off, I find myself, like so many others, holding two seemingly contradictory emotions inside at once: grief and joy.

I am grieving for our families, some who have lost their jobs, and some struggling to work from home and direct their children’s education at the same time, some facing fear of exposure to the virus as they head to their jobs as first-responders or essential workers. I am grieving for our students who have lost their direct connections to trusted teachers and the friends who keep them feeling loved and grounded, especially our seniors, who are facing the loss of hoped-for events to celebrate the end of a school career and new beginnings. I grieve for our staff, who are pulled between a desire to support students and a need to take care of themselves and their families. I am grieving for my own family, and my daughters who were just beginning their journeys as young adults and now face an uncertain future.

At the same time, each week is filled with joyful moments. Every day, I see teachers pushing through fear and anxiety, finding creative ways to provide meaningful learning for students. Linnea Smith’s Treasure Box Challenges have given students opportunities to apply their imagination to different subject areas (see the winners below!). Erin Horst is coordinating a virtual play that will allow her theatre students to practice their craft for public view (see event details below). Our Community Liaison Team has worked tirelessly to contact every single Inspire family every week to assess student needs, ensure access to academic and emotional support resources, and simply listen to and be present for our students and families. This week, they report that not one single Inspire student is “Missing in Action.” All have been in contact with the school in one way or another. Our counseling team and special education support team have developed tools to support the mental health and learning needs of our students, so vital at this time.

I’m in awe of the strength and resilience of our community, rocked again by a crisis beyond our understanding, coming together again with student well-being as a uniting purpose. Dear families, please keep reaching out, cheering us on, partnering with us toward creative solutions, and letting us know what your students need. Looking forward to seeing you again soon on the other side.

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