Supt Journal

  • If You Were a Weekend

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 8/31/2021

    A few months ago, I was watching an old movie from the early part of the 20th century and heard one of the characters deride another character by saying, “If you were a weekend, there would be no parties.”  Evidently, the person she was talking to was boring and dull.  I chuckled when I heard it and it has stuck with me.  The challenges of the past couple years tend to make me boring and dull too.

    Several years ago, our maintenance guys planted some rose bushes in front of the unit office.  For the first time last week, I plucked one of the roses from a vine and smelled its divine fragrance.  It was a simple act, but amazingly satisfying.   The fragrance has been available to me for several years, but I never took advantage of the opportunity. It is that way with all of life.  There are plenty of beautiful experiences to enjoy, plenty of impressive accomplishments to celebrate, and plenty of wonderful things to appreciate.  All we have to do is slow down and take the time to, well, smell the roses! 

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  • People Do

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 7/29/2021

    I heard something profound while listening to a radio interview recently.  The person being interviewed said that tools are important when building a house, but the tools don’t build a house, people do.  That simple statement really struck me.  I immediately applied the idea to education.

    It is important to have great facilities, programs, and well-developed curriculum, but those things do not educate our students, people do.  We need smart, well-trained, and dedicated employees who work together to make sure every child gets a great education.  The job becomes much easier when we have great facilities, successful programs, and well-developed curriculum, but at the core, we must have a great staff.

    This is my 15th year working in the Sherrard School District (1998-2006 & 2015-present) and I have discovered over and over again that we have a great staff.  All the pandemic challenges of the last school year demonstrated it.  The Illinois State Board of Education acknowledged it by giving 4 of our 5 schools the highest rating of “exemplary.”  Only 6 of the other 52 schools in the Quad Cities Area (Illinois side) received the highest rating.  This great staff will be returning again this year and, despite the challenges that are sure to come, it will continue to demonstrate greatness.

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  • Vaccination is a key component for the lifting of restrictions

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 6/14/2021

    Happily, the number of positive Covid cases continues to decrease. Last November, there were more than 15,000 new cases reported each day. Now, the daily infection rate is in the range of 300-400. Researchers estimate that herd immunity could happen when 70% of the population has had the virus or has become fully vaccinated.

    Districts continue to wait for final guidance about how the upcoming school year will look. We will develop plans for the fall as new information becomes available. Here are a few examples of things that will most likely be realities this fall.

    • Since entering Phase 5 of the Governor’s Covid plan, there are no attendance restrictions for athletics or extra-curricular activities.
    • On May 17, the Governor announced that the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health are mandating that everyone wear a mask at school during the 2021-2022 school year. It is my personal opinion that they will alter the mask mandate at some point. The state expects all students to return to school this fall. 
    • There will be an allowance for remote learning for a very small number of students who have specific health situations.
    • Students who are fully vaccinated may resume sports-related activities without wearing masks or maintaining physical distance from others for any sport, both indoors and outdoors.
    • Students who are fully vaccinated may skip routine testing for Covid.  The state has said that Covid testing will be done in schools for those who aren’t fully vaccinated.
    • Students who are fully vaccinated with no symptoms of Covid do not need to be quarantined; be restricted from school, athletics, or another extracurricular activity.
    • The Illinois Department of Public Health has stated that students who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask during sports-related activities played indoors.

    As you can see from the information above, vaccination is a key component for the lifting of restrictions. It takes about five weeks for a student to become fully vaccinated. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is given 3 weeks after the first dose, and there is a 2-week waiting period after the second dose before a student is considered fully vaccinated. Students who start the vaccine process today can expect to be fully vaccinated during the 3rd week of July. The experts have stated that the known and potential benefits of Covid vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.

    The Illinois Department of Public Health has developed a document of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the topic of vaccinating young people. 

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  • Staff Appreciation

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 5/6/2021

    Our primary goal in education is to get the children ready for adulthood.  It’s a clear goal everyone knows and understands.  When the students graduate from high school, we want them to have the skills and knowledge to excel at whatever they choose to do.  We want them to be balanced socially and emotionally.  When an elderly lady needs to cross the street, we want our graduates to notice the need, take initiative to assist her, and then expect no compensation or recognition afterward.  We want the graduates to live their lives beyond themselves.

    This important task takes years of dedicated effort to accomplish. The teachers lead the charge, but they need the support of paraprofessionals, food service workers, secretaries, transportation employees, custodians, maintenance workers, nurses, technology workers, certified support staff, non-certified support staff, coaches, supervisors, administrators, board members, volunteers, and parents.  Everyone’s effort, whether seen or unseen, deserves appreciation.

    There are times when we become discouraged, angry, and frustrated.  We see injustice, abuse, and heart-breaking circumstances.  We sometimes disagree with each other and hurt one another’s feelings.  But there are also times we encourage, forgive and defer to one another.  We work as a team and do all we can to reach our primary goal.  I want to publicly thank all of the staff members in the Sherrard School District for their work. I consider it a privilege to work alongside such a talented and dedicated team.

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