Please read this family message from Superintendent Susan Enfield about listening to questions and concerns around the transition to hybrid learning.
Dear Highline Families,
As I continue to hear concerns from staff and families about our plans to return elementary students to schools, I want to acknowledge the fear and anxiety many are feeling.
First, I want to assure you that our school board members, cabinet leaders and I all care, deeply, for our students, staff and families. Like so many of you, we have friends, colleagues and family members in Highline whom we love and worry about. Our plan to bring elementary students back into our schools is not meant to signal that we do not care— though I know it feels that way to some.
We truly are listening. I have read the emails and had conversations with staff and families to understand their concerns, and I know those concerns are very real. At the same time, I hear those of you who want and need your children back in school, as you see children in other districts return to school. This is what I grapple with daily.
Ninety-one percent of our elementary families responded to our survey asking your preference for remote or hybrid instruction. Forty-one percent are choosing to send your children back to school in hybrid.
As superintendent, I have the responsibility to listen to as many voices as possible before making decisions—and rarely, if ever, do those decisions please everyone.
I must also listen to the guidance of the CDC and state and county public health officials who support returning students to school with strict safety measures in place and to the American Academy of Pediatrics and others who warn of the emotional and academic damage to children from being out of school for so long.
I recognize that reconfiguring classrooms at this point in the year is another disruption in a long year of disruptions. I wish there were a way to keep classes together and provide in-person instruction to those who choose it without overburdening our amazing teachers who are already stretched so thin. As I have said before, there are no good options here.
To those who are feeling fear, anger, and frustration: you are not wrong to feel what you are feeling, nor are you wrong to disagree with me on this--or any--decision. But if you believe I don’t care about the well-being of our students and staff, there you are wrong. I agonize daily over the decisions I have made over the past 11 months and will need to make in the future.
I love Highline and the people who make it so special. This has been my home for nearly nine years, and for as long as I am here, I will continue to do my best to listen, learn and lead with an open heart and open mind, keeping our students and our Highline promise to know them by name, strength and need at the center of all we do.
Susan Enfield, Ed.D. | Superintendent | Highline Public Schools
Office: 206-631-3070 | firstname.lastname@example.org