Please read this joint message from Highline Public Schools and the Highline Education Association.
We want to begin by thanking our professional education staff for their tireless work, flexibility, and commitment to students and families as we address Washington State’s response to COVID-19. It is now clear that, during school closure, the state expects all school districts to provide continuous learning opportunities that are grounded in compassion, communication, and common sense. During this time, we recognize the need for flexibility. We also recognize that consistency and predictability are never more important than in a time of emergency, as routines and structures can help provide a sense of calm and normalcy both for students and adults. Accordingly, as we craft guidance to staff we will strive to balance the need for flexibility with predictability. Examples of this include: multiple modes and means of communicating with families; maintaining flexibility with schedules as staff balance the needs of their own families with job-related responsibilities; and commitments to on-going discussions between HEA and HPS as the situation evolves.
As always, we continue to promote being reasonable and talking things through with one another as we problem solve unique needs at the level closest to those who are impacted. We also encourage you to support our students and colleagues by amplifying messages that prioritize relationship-building and equity as well as compassion and flexibility. If, during this time or any other, you need to access the services of the Employee Assistance Program, they are available 24/7.
As professionals providing learning opportunities for our students, we recognize that services will look different than what students and parents are used to. We also recognize that remote instruction cannot replace the amazing work that educators and students do in our schools. This is an unprecedented moment in our world’s history, and one of the most important things we can do is grant each other grace as we recognize we are each are doing our best to meet our students’ needs. We deeply appreciate the staff supporting child care, tech support, meal service, facilities and other essential services. As public servants who are grateful to be drawing a paycheck during this time, we must remain committed to meeting the needs of our community who are rightly depending upon us.
Like most other industries, public education was not equipped to transform the traditional learning model into something entirely different overnight, but our schools, and each of you, continue to rise to the challenge. Thank you for your continued commitment and dedication.
Our Highline promise to know every student by name, strength and need so they graduate prepared for the future they choose has never been more needed, and it will take all of us working together like never before to make it a reality during these challenging times. As we prepare for spring break we encourage you all to virtually check in with families, friends, and loved ones and come back refreshed and ready to deliver on our promise with renewed energy.
Susan Enfield, Ed.D.
Superintendent | Highline Public Schools
President | Highline Education Association