Tuesday, March 24, 2020

I've Been Hunkered Down...

I've taken a brief hiatus from writing - I've been hunkered down, trying to process what's going on.  Like many of you, I'm struggling with the scale of the current situation - and now with schools closing in Virginia...whew - it takes a lot to pull me down - but that message capped a surreal couple of weeks. 

Yesterday and today I have spent lots of time responding to staff members questions around what is going to happen now that the state is closing us down through the end of the year.  How will we continue student learning?  How will we motivate students to engage?  How will we do all this and support students' SEL needs?  How will we teach and take care of our families?  How will we...?  When can we...?  Most of the answers are not yet clearly defined - so I've done the best I could to respond with care and concern. 

I have been brought to tears multiple times by the lovely messages from students, families and staff members, as they recognize the poignancy of opening a new school this year, just to have it close in March - not even three quarters of the year complete.  I can't help but think of the eighth graders, torn from their original middle school, some placed here willingly, some unwillingly, and now there will be no end-of-the-year celebration that acknowledges this transition.   

All of these challenges pale in light of the conversation around keeping our families safe, healthy, and protected from exposure to this virus. So, with that to motivate me, I return to writing a slice a day - in the hopes that it will help me document this experience and stay connected to this positive and supportive writing and learning community. 

Thanks for listening.   


  1. I've been thinking of you a lot lately, Ellen. Not just wondering where you've been, but realizing the enormity of this situation for all of us but especially for the new schools in our county. It's just tough! But let's stay safe, move forward and keep writing. Big hug.

  2. It is scary but your post is filled with grace and poise. You are handling it! Stay strong and willing. We will overcome this germ!

  3. Sometimes we need to stop and take a big deep breath before tackling a problem. No doubt this is that kind of moment. Thanks for sharing!

  4. And... maybe the building will be done when school starts again!

  5. I’m with you—heavy hearts all around. As if starting up a new school weren’t challenging enough, right?