Year End Letter From Dr. Godshall
June 4, 2021
A YEAR LIKE NO OTHER
Dear Orleans/Niagara BOCES Community:
Our school districts and the BOCES are nearing the end of a session-- like no other. Last fall we started with a lot of remote learning and then morphed into hybrid and in-person instruction. Each stage required unique transformations, for both the districts and BOCES.
Such flexibility is the strength of public education. At the BOCES, our school board members and administration worked with the component school districts, parents and health care officials and excelled in providing our services in a multitude of formats as requested by our communities to meet their needs.
As COVID-19 transmission rates continue to fall and the New York State Department of Health issues new versions of school guidance that permits students to return, we will be addressing our protocols and public health compliance for a safe return of staff and students in September, along with our summer school programs. The BOCES staff will be reviewing updated CDC guidance documents and providing further guidelines with more detailed information. We will be collaborating with our stakeholders to gather their input as well.
The pandemic forced us to rapidly develop useful resources to support student learning and wellbeing. When school districts closed, they and the BOCES rushed to provide internet-connected devices, changed student driving practices, socially distanced classrooms and redefined how schoolwork and our internal needs were to be met. Teachers refined their skills to deliver online instruction. Virtual meetings have become the norm for all, with high interest and participation among parents, students and community members. Everyone contributed to the success of the clients we serve, thanks to the outstanding instructional, custodial, business and operations staff.
As the school year ends, reflect on what you have experienced and learned, whether it was overcoming learning loss, stress, other challenges our students and staff faced, or just working with PPE at our sites. It will take the same innovative spirit that we have demonstrated to move forward, hopefully in a greatly improved environment.
I praise all of our students and staff as they continue to diligently follow our health and safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Planning for summer and next year’s educational programs is underway. Best wishes to those who have successfully completed one of our BOCES programs and to our retirees!
As we strive to overcome this pandemic’s challenges, we will continue to build on our 65 years of history, while transforming our organization to become more responsive, proactive and client-driven. Like you, I am thankful for the lessons we have learned and the progress we have made in a year like no other.
Clark J. Godshall
Dr. Clark J. Godshall