Dear Doherty Students, Families, & Staff,
As we wrap up our first week of distance learning, I want to say thank you to our students, teachers, staff, parents, and families. All of you have done a phenomenal job adjusting and adapting to our new learning model. I recognize the challenges you are facing but each of you is stepping up, realizing what needs to be done and doing the work. I couldn’t be more proud of Sparta and our Spartan strength. As will be my continuing practice, I have a few areas to touch on this afternoon before everyone disconnects and enjoys the holiday weekend.
Technology Deployment and Use – We have a small number of students who still need access to technology. The district will be coordinating distribution of laptops beginning Monday and continuing through Friday. We believe we have identified all students who need technology and we will reach out to them individually with instructions and logistics for the distribution of the laptops.
Seniors – This morning high school principals met with Dr. Thomas to discuss graduation, senior activities, recognitions and the distribution of announcements and caps and gowns. He has created a project team that will be empowered to plan and organize District 11’s approach to these senior activities. This group will begin working early next week with the goal of communicating specifics of the plan late next week or early the following week. Please know that I recognize not having answers is frustrating. At times, I am frustrated as well. I want to reassure you that Dr. Thomas, the District 11 Board of Education, and all the principals in our district are committed to ensuring senior activities take place when and how they provide the greatest opportunity to celebrate each of you while maintaining health and safety. Remember, we must follow the guidance we receive from the CDC, as well as state and local governments. I ask for your continued patience and understanding and can assure you that as answers become available, you will be the first to know.
Activities – This morning I also met with representatives of Doherty’s student government. The purpose of the meeting was to ask our student leaders to begin reaching out to the student body and developing plans for student activities in a virtual environment. Please stay tuned for information on how to have your voice in the planning and execution of these events be heard.
Social Emotional Resources – I want to remind you that just as we are taking precautionary measures to stay physically healthy, it’s equally important to be sure we are mentally healthy. The Mental Health Resources page, which can also be found on Doherty’s website, offers many avenues of help that is available to anyone who seeks assistance. Every single one of us is being impacted by this pandemic. You are not alone and if you are struggling, reach out and seek help or if you are supporting someone who needs help, please use the available resources that we have provided.
Engagement – Student engagement is important now more than ever and looks different than it did a short while ago. This week you may have logged into Schoology, completed tasks, communicated with your teachers, or checked your district email. Please incorporate your engagement and learning into your daily routine. Remember, learning is your responsibility. Please take it seriously.
TheSpartan.org – I encourage each of you to log onto Doherty’s online newspaper https://thespartan.org/ and read about what’s been happening at Sparta. Information on AP testing, personality profiles, and favorite memes are just a few examples of what The Spartan offers. Be sure to comment and share what you would like to read about.
PTSA/SAC – Our regularly scheduled Parent/Teacher/Student Association and School Accountability Committee will take place in virtual format using Webex on Monday, April l3th at 6pm. Details on how to participate in the meeting can be found here. I will be available with any updates as well as field any questions.
Be the Light – As I mentioned in my last update, our superintendent Dr. Thomas, along with districts and schools around the state, are participating in Be the Light activities. Consider participating in this human engagement and if you have done so already, thank you and please continue to Be the Light. If each of us takes this step and adds it to our daily routine, it might add something amazing to someone’s day who might not have otherwise received it. Be the Light in someone else’s life. They can sure use it. To meet the challenge, make the call and then post it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and tag @DHSathletics and @D11athletics. WE before me!
I want to thank each of you for your commitment and loyalty to Doherty High School. It is through adversity and challenge that we experience our greatest personal growth. We also become stronger friends, families and school communities. Please continue to support one another and be there for one another and understand that together we will get each other through. Because of each of you, I am the Proud Principal of Doherty High School. Have a great weekend.
Peace and Tranquility, Sparta,
Kevin Gardner, M.A.
Doherty High School