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    Normandy Virtual Community Meeting

    Parents, staff and community members recently attended the first community meeting with newly appointed Normandy Superintendent of Schools Marcus C. Robinson. Mr. Robinson discussed his immediate plans for the district as well as took questions from attendees. Below are questions that were submitted prior to and posed during the meeting. Thank you to all who participated!

     


  • Together, We Will Get Through This

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 4/13/2020

    To the Normandy Schools Staff, Families, and Community,

    The last four weeks have been some of the most difficult times that we have ever experienced. It feels as if we watched a storm sweep in capturing many of us off guard, taking lives, causing pain, separating us for safety’s sake, while at the same time causing families to hold each other tighter. It has been challenging on so many levels.

    Our school buildings went from being closed for 10 days to being closed for the remainder of the school year. Many families are now wrestling with the emotional stress of supporting children who are not in school, securing food for families, grappling with what the future of employment will be — all while serving as caregivers for family members who are ill, or recovering from illness ourselves. Our community is one of the hardest hit with the coronavirus.

    It is hard — for all of us.

    And yet, we are resilient. #NORMANDYSTRONG is more than something we just say. It is more than a slogan on a shirt. It is an attitude. It is a statement of faith. It is a statement about resilience in the face of adversity. Because we are #NORMANDYSTRONG, our leaders, teachers and staff are committed to three specific actions:

    1. We will provide the highest quality remote learning experience to our children that we can. We, too, are learning how to teach in new ways, and we had to learn these new methods in days, not years. From lesson planning to distribution of Chromebooks and printed packets, to regular communication with families, we are committed to serving our children.
    2. We will provide meals to the families we serve as safely as possible for both our staff and the families we touch weekly. This means evaluating what changes we need to make, what community partners we can work with, what other resources exist that we can access on a daily basis.
    3. We will continue to connect families to the supports needed to keep all of us emotionally and mentally safe. Mental and emotional health are necessary if any true learning will take place.

    As Superintendent, I am committed to finishing this year with an eye to excellence as we learn something new each day. We have a new normal. The goal to serve our children has not changed, however. Teaching and learning will continue until the last day of school, May 29, 2020. Meals and other services will continue to be served in some capacity until then as well. Plans are now being made about what summer will look like, both in terms of summer schools and continued services. As these plans are finalized, you will be notified. Please continue to visit our website and follow us on social media for the latest updates as we continue to serve.

    I learned a poem while in college, “See It Through!” by Edgar A. Guest. The first stanza is below…

    When you’re up against a trouble,

    Meet it squarely, face to face;

    Lift your chin and set your shoulders,

    Plant your feet and take a brace.

    When it’s vain to try to dodge it,

    Do the best that you can do;

    You may fail, but you may conquer,

    See it through!

     

    We will see it through!

     

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Charles J. Pearson
    Superintendent of Schools

     

    #NORMANDYSTRONG #RidingTheNextWave

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  • Ready to Serve

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 3/22/2020

    To the Normandy Community,

         Ten days ago, we began having conversations about how school districts would respond to school being out an additional week after spring break. At that time, it was only a thought.

         Within 72 hours that thought became a reality -- school was to be out until April 3, 2020. NSC leadership had four days to redesign our instructional model to become a virtual school. The situation continued to deteriorate and our plans kept adjusting. On Monday, March 23, 2020, we begin a combination of strategies to educate our children in a distance learning model. There is online learning and there are families accessing instruction through packets. The teaching and learning in this new model must continue. The longer we use this model, the better we will get at it.

         We are following all of the safety guidelines while completing our functions as a school district. Providing an education is an “essential function.” This means that we work in alternate ways to meet the educational needs, while practicing “social distancing.” We are working to be sure that our children and families have access to opportunities to learn while school buildings are closed.

         I am placing four guiding principles before us that will drive the work we are doing in this changing environment.

    1. Be safe. We are following all guidelines so that staff are safe as we perform duties.
    2. Support teaching and learning. We are quickly learning how to teach virtually. During the next 10 days, teachers will take professional development online to equip themselves to teach children virtually (technology and packets).
    3. Meet unmet needs. We are collaborating with community partners—Operation Food Search, Beyond Housing, Wyman and others to meet the need for families in receiving food. Many of our children have two of the three meals they eat each day to come from the school. That need must be met. Grab and Go meals are available throughout the district to meet that need. In addition, Wyman continues to work with our service providers so that students may still access mental, emotional, and behavioral support during the pandemic.
    4. Deepen school/families relationships. Our schools and families have an unprecedented opportunity to work more closely in the education of children. Teachers will be proactive in communicating with families and students regularly so parents are equipped to support learning at home. I envision this as a true opportunity. We are being compelled to be in touch to support our children.

         I refer to myself as the “Lead Learner” in Normandy. This means that I will be studying as well. Our Leadership Team and Joint Executive Governing Board join me as learners. We will do more than just get through this. We will be become better.

         And together, those of us in the 24:1, will continue to be #NORMANDYSTRONG.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Charles J. Pearson

     

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  • Black History Month: Celebrating a History of Grit, Determination, & Tenacity

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 2/13/2020

    Inventiveness.

    Character.

    Vision.

    These words describe the men and women we pause and celebrate during Black History Month. Just a short list illustrates their wide range of contributions:

    • Benjamin Banneker, who invented more effective versions of the clock and planned Washington, D.C.
    • Patricia Bath who invented the Laserphaco Probe, which has revolutionized the treatment of cataracts.
    • Charles Drew, who invented the modern blood bank (which also led to blood mobiles).
    • Thomas Elkins, who invented the modern chamber commode.
    • Alexander Myles, who created an automatic device to open and close elevator doors.
    • Garrett Morgan, who invented a traffic signal and created the gas mask which grew in popularity when it was used to aid workers after an underground explosion.
    • Lewis Latimer, who invented carbon filament, a critical component of the light bulb.
    • Marie Ban Britten Brown, who devised a system that would alert her of strangers at her door and contact relevant authorities as quickly as possible—the modern home security system concept.
    • Otis Boykin, who developed circuit improvements in pacemakers after losing his mother to heart failure. 
    • Lisa Gelobter, who was integrally involved with the advent of Shockwave, a technology that formed the beginning of web animation.

    We acknowledge politicians such Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Shirley Chisholm, and President Barack Hussein Obama, who committed their lives to making life better in a system that did not always value them as human beings. It is fitting that we reflect and celebrate, but it is more valuable that we learn from the lives of these men and women.

    From the inventors, we learn that life is full of problems that need solving. People exist that need helping. Our God-given talents are gifts we share to make life better for others. From the politicians, we learn that a life of public service, a life challenging and agitating the system, is a life worth living. We learn that we can work alongside allies — people who do not look like us or sound like us — and actually cause change in the world.

    From the individual stories of artists, performers, athletes, and social activists, we learn the concept of “grit.” We learn that we cannot stop in the face of adversity. We cannot flinch in the face of blatant enemies, or in the face of unjust laws. We celebrate in Black History Month, but we study all year so that we too can make a difference, solve a problem, help people who need help, or serve unselfishly so that others may have better lives.

    Black History Month is full of lessons. My hope, as an educator and a member of a community, is that I can help young people learn these lessons. There are problems to be solved and people to be helped.  Let us work together to help our young people make history.

    Black History Month is Grit. Determination. Tenacity. Perseverance. Inventiveness. Character. Vision. Pride.

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