At this time of year, I work to get to the office by 7:00 am so that I can get a jump on the day. It is one, if not our busiest, time of year. I am, as usual, down to the wire on writing my message for the newsletter, the first of the 2021-2022 school year.

I believe this year will be a year in the middle as we work our way out of the pandemic. As we have said from the beginning, it is a process and as with most processes of change, we seem to go two or three steps forward and a step back. We will get to the light at the end of the tunnel eventually.

This newsletter contains a mountain’s worth of information; some of it the typical and some of it new. All of it is important. I am going to highlight some of the new information, but please read this newsletter in its entirety. As always, if you have a question, please call or email us or stop by our office. 

The COVID-19 delta variant is causing an increase in cases throughout the nation and state.  The impact of these increases on schools and particularly each unique school is not known at this time. What I want to assure you is that we have continued to make sure that we have the flexibility to transition across the spectrum of mitigation strategies. We have placed minimal additional equipment back in classrooms and we have maintained desks as available. We have secured supplies of disinfectant and sanitizer and have the ability to continue our increased cleaning processes used last year, etc. Our implementation of these will be based on the presence of COVID-19 in our schools and community. A plan of potential actions is available off of the district website. 

As I did last year, I will do my best to communicate to you in a timely manner what the district is planning on doing, and/or major changes in guidance/law that are impacting our decisions.

As we know, the response to COVID-19 has been, and will continue to be, driven by state and federal guidance and law. At this time, we cannot require masks or vaccinations and we are required to start school in a full face-to-face model. While I do not anticipate this will change, stranger things have happened. What I do know is that those decisions are now out of our control.

Vaccinations and masking are personal decisions that we must respect and appreciate. One of my proudest reflections of this experience is the grace and kindness we have afforded each other at West Burlington Independent Schools. Thank you for carrying it forward.

On another front, we are in the final stages of transitioning to a new student information system, Infinite Campus. No transition goes without hiccups and stress. This is about the 5th one I have been a part of and one of the smoothest so far. Many kudos to our staff who have and will continue to diligently work through the process of change. This transition will bring about changes in processes as we go, so please watch for announcements of those as we go through opening it up to our families and students. 

Families first use of Infinite Campus will be for registration. Registration opens with the release of this newsletter. As the district had not maintained some information in our former system JMC, returning families will find some “well duh” information requests. This is the best and most efficient way for us to get accurate information. You won’t see them again next year. 

We are also requiring that families/students new to the district register through the district office.  A specific day will be communicated and a different time can also be arranged by contacting us. Please review this information in this newsletter carefully as it contains lots of important information about this and the start of school. Again, if you get frustrated, ask us for help if you want/need it. While we have tried to think ahead and be proactive….it never fails…something doesn’t go as planned.  Please grant us grace and patience.

While I could go on and on with other information, Jim, a former newspaper publisher, is whispering to me in my mind. He worked to teach me that I talk (write) too much. I need to be more succinct. He gave me a word limit and made me stick with it. I think…I know I’m approaching his limit.

In closing, the rustle of the trees outside my window still makes my heart leap with joy. While I love the sights, scents, and smells of the season, it is the return to school and the anticipation of another year that brings me the greatest joy. It is when we find hope that we find our greatest peace and happiness.

As always, for some of us it is our last “first day of school” and for others our first “first day”. Regardless of where you and yours are in the cycle of school, treasure the excitement and anticipation of this time.

Thanks for entrusting the education of your children with us.

Enjoy what remains of summer and…… Welcome Back to the 2021-2022 school year.

Lisa Beames