Board President's Notes: We hear you, and we're making the best decisions possible

Board President's Notes: We hear you, and we're making the best decisions possible
Posted on 12/06/2020
BOE President Kevin SchartnerThe role of a school board director is to be a representative for our community in the oversight and strategic direction of our school district. In a normal year, most of us agree this means things like ensuring balanced budgets and improving academics. I also think most of us would agree that this year has been anything but “normal.” The coronavirus has changed the lives of everyone in our country. Many have lost jobs, local businesses are facing unprecedented challenges, and many in our community have lost loved ones. It has upended “normal” life for just about everyone.
Curbside Grab-and-Go meal distribution at MHS
Image: Pat Holloran, a School Food and Nutrition Services Technician, serves curbside Grab-and-Go meals to families at Mehlville High School.

Throughout this time, we have heard from stakeholders across our district. These include families with students who struggle to learn in a virtual school, those who worry for their own health or of bringing this virus home to vulnerable family members, requests to resume sports to provide scholarship opportunities for our seniors, and many more. The one constant of these stories is they all bring their life experiences to advocate for a position, and because of this they are all valid. Some of them are truly heartbreaking. We also know that meeting all of these competing requests was never possible. I can honestly say there has not been a time where any COVID-related decisions felt good, only that they were the best call we could make with the information we had. 

As I write this article, it is with the knowledge that we are closer to the end of this pandemic than the beginning. Two vaccines are coming, and a third has just released test results showing great promise. As I read articles and watch videos of our new Mehlville School District Alumni Hall of Fame inductees and former graduates working as health providers, it fills me with promise as I think of the days ahead where our current students will become like those great people, leading the efforts to overcome future challenges.
Hagemann Elementary kindergarten teacher Devon Drikow
Image: Devon Drikow, a kindergarten teacher at Hagemann Elementary School, talks to her students about the story of 'The Nutcracker.'

Before ending, I want to explicitly express our board’s appreciation for all of our teachers, support staff and administration. This year has numerous, unique challenges none of us saw coming. We are proud of the work you are doing and we are extremely thankful, especially for our frontline teachers and school support staff. We understand the added pressures and work you are putting in during this unprecedented time, and we sincerely appreciate your efforts and dedication. 

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