From the Superintendent: A message of gratitude
“There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit. When you are committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.” - Anonymous
The above quote is one that my college coach would write on the board in our team room before every game. I have often reflected on that quote whenever I am faced with an unknown challenge. It reminds me that commitment ignites action along with concepts of prioritization for the future. Together, we accept responsibility, obligations, and persevere despite the obstacles.
With the onset of COVID-19, we have all faced some unknown challenges. As each of you knows that we cannot control what happens in the world, we can control how we respond, unite, and refocus. We can control our own actions - so there is always a choice -- to move forward with a commitment to results or to just show interest in moving on making excuses about why it cannot be done.
You have not ceased in service to the Gresham-Barlow families since March 16th when the closure began, and it has not gone without notice. Your commitment these past few weeks has been nothing short of admirable. Many of you sacrificed time and personal needs to ensure we were in a position to welcome teachers, deliver food to families, and distribute devices.
The time spent securing and sanitizing devices, planning the logistics for distribution, and prepping devices for our students was a true exhibition of your commitment. The tech team and our facilities department collaboratively planned and executed a plan to deliver 3,000-Chromebooks into the hands of students in three days. All the while, the instructional team worked around the clock to design, develop, and deliver a well-structured playlist for teachers to reconnect, reunite with and to continue to facilitate learning for our students. Without each of your commitment to our district’s mission - “to inspire and empower each student” - without a doubt, the Distance Learning for All (DLA) would not be possible without your commitment.
Nutrition services and transportation staff have partnered and worked side-by-side to make sure our students continue to receive free breakfast and lunch. Together they have served over 20,000 meals in a three-week period. Staff from the facilities department, along with our school custodians, have endeavored to thoroughly clean our buildings according to public health guidelines. The business office staff made it a priority to ensure each employee received paychecks on time and attended to the District's financial obligations. To remain committed to the work during challenging times, speaks to your character, exhibited in your actions, and appreciated by many. Even amidst personal fear and anxiety in an uncertain environment, each team member remained focused on the needs of our students and our schools.
The common experiences, values, sacrifices, and commitment have me grateful, but more importantly, I am proud to serve a district with a staff that practices what each of you expects in each other. These unprecedented times won’t last forever, and I cannot promise you that there won’t be others - but I know that together we are stronger.
On behalf of the Gresham-Barlow Board of Directors, thank you for all you have done during this challenging time. When you reflect back on this time over the years to come - know that in the face of uncertainty and the unknown - you committed to serving our community of learners as TEAM GBSD.
With the Sincerest of Appreciation,
Dr. A. Katrise Perera
Superintendent of Schools