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April 2020

Greetings, Purgolder Community! 


What can I share with you about the month ahead for East High School? So many things feel uncertain as our school community and communities across the city, country and globe are forced to prioritize health and safety above all else. The disruption to our lives has been profound and we have had to reimagine what community means in a time when distancing ourselves from one another has become so important. I know that this will continue to be a stressful time for all of us and that uncertainty about what this will all mean for our students’ education is one source of that stress. I would like to talk about some things that I believe ARE certain as we head into what will undoubtedly be a unique month in the history of East High School.  

I am certain that our staff at East will do everything we can to ensure that your students’ goals, educational and otherwise, remain on track. It will be an unprecedented challenge, and it will require patience and flexibility on our part, and yours. However, these past few weeks of collaborating, brainstorming, problem-solving and creating with my colleagues and community members have left me certain that East will tackle this challenge as well as anyone. Our teachers have been working hard to develop “virtual learning” experiences for your students. Our instructional coaches and teacher leaders have nimbly adapted themselves to support that essential work. Our counselors and student support staff are going all-hands-on-deck to engage our students and families, with the understanding that their most important needs right now may not be academic. Many of our staff have eagerly taken on new responsibilities, as the vital work they have done in the school must change to suit the virtual world. Most are doing so while confined to their own homes, while others, including many custodial and food service staff, are leaving their homes everyday to ensure that our facilities and our families' needs are looked after. All are doing so while managing their responsibilities to their own families and loved ones. It has been humbling and inspiring to see them take on these challenges with such energy, creativity, and most importantly, deep care for your students. I am not saying that we will get everything right. None of us have experienced something like this before and I hope that we will continue hearing from you about what you need from us. I am saying that we will do our best, and that is all we will ask of our students. School is just going to look different for a while - we have all had to accept that and adapt to it. As much as I feel for our students, who have already had to miss out on so many things this Spring, I know that someday when we are all looking back on this, what will matter most will not be that our semester didn’t go according to plan, that teachers didn’t get through all of their units or that events had to be canceled. It will be that when we were faced with a global health crisis, we made the sacrifices we had to in order to protect each other and our community.

I wouldn’t know where to begin describing the acts of selflessness, kindness and compassion that I have witnessed or learned of over the past few weeks from staff members, parents, community members, and of course, students. It has been a powerful reminder of how much we have to be proud of, and of all that we have to protect as members of the Eastside community. Please keep looking out East, and if you can, please stay at home. 

We will get through this. 

Brendan Kearney