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To Veterans Memorial Middle School

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To Mrs. Kotsianis, Mr. Carr, Mr. Walski, Mr. Richards, Mr. Calabro, Mrs. Bearse, Mrs. Wnuk, Mrs. Detata, Mrs. Fallon, Mrs. Foley, Mrs. Dunne, Mrs. Hansen, Mrs. Reilly, Mr. Lafferty, Mr. Schnorrbusch, Mrs. Curran, and Mrs. Sammarco:

Last year I wrote a glowing homage to all of Zach’s sixth grade teachers, praising them for their creativity and attentiveness to him. I closed with the wish that his seventh grade teachers would mirror their excellence.

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I have to say that for once, my dream came true.

I feel like there will now be a great divide in all of our lives, our time before Coronavirus, and after. I know some things have changed in my family. As horrible as this all is I find we are laughing more, sleeping more, and when not thinking about what’s happening “out there” are more relaxed than during our usual frenetic pace. There are definitely some “befores” and “afters” now, with notable changes.

One thing that hasn’t changed has been the quality of Zach’s instruction, and for that I am truly grateful.

Before we all self-quarantined I had been thrilled with Zach’s new batch of teachers, and the retention of some from sixth grade. They somehow managed to make middle school fun, treated my son with respect and compassion, were always accessible for any questions, and made Zach want to learn.

No small feat with a burgeoning teen.

When I picked Zach up on March 13th I can’t say I knew he wouldn’t return this year. I can say as a former educator I knew what a Herculean task it would be to create even adequate online instruction practically overnight.

And yet, all of his teachers rose to the occasion. Online learning was up and running three days later after one (I’m assuming) very long staff meeting. Certainly, it is not the same as in-school instruction. Yet I feel that Zach is still learning, acquiring concepts, and mastering skills. He still feels connected to his teachers. He is still making progress.

And as I listened to other friends’ woes about their districts’ issues in the following weeks, I knew just how lucky we were once again in regards to Zach’s education.

This year is certainly ending differently than any other year in Zach’s educational career. It is so sad that none of you got to say goodbye to “your kids.” I remember when I left my fifth graders six weeks early to have my first child how heartwrenching it was not to finish with them- the sobbing wasn’t just the hormones. They are definitely missing out on some special events both with other students and staff. It’s sad, and we’re allowed to mourn.

But thanks to your collective commitment to excellence, your constant creativity, and your compassion for all those you teach, my son and others in his class will not only not fall behind, but will be ready to conquer eighth grade in whatever form it takes. Zach will be prepared for whatever challenges befall him, and given the world climate, I am confident there will be many.

Thank you to all of you for your kindness towards my boy. We truly appreciate you!

For more on my family visit my blog at autismmommytherapist.wordpress.com

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