The year 2020 will not be forgotten for a long time and as the year moves closer to ending this Friday, we must all realize this year has been unique, but has also proven how resilient we are when faced with adversity. I remain hopeful that 2021 will bring all of us better times and the chance to move forward in a positive direction. I am filled with positivity and enthusiasm for what 2021 has in store for St. James R-I Schools!
When we return to school on January 5, 2021, we will still continue to stress the importance of wearing a face covering in school and in public to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Until the vaccine reaches all Missouri citizens, it still makes all of us vulnerable if we do not continue to take precautions.
Although we had to move to the hybrid learning format for grades 6-12 in November and later to the virtual format for one week at the elementary, we were able to develop new and innovative ways for students to learn while successfully managing the new normal of positive case notifications, contact tracing and quarantines. We will remain optimistic that 2021 will usher in improvements with lower positive cases and quarantines.
The holiday break allowed our custodial and maintenance crews to have extra time to deep clean and sanitize our facilities for the return of our students and staff. Our custodial team and technology department also worked over the break to prepare the renovated high school building for our students. We are excited that our high school students will be able to start using this freshly renovated building very soon. We anticipate the upstairs classrooms to be ready for our students and staff to safely occupy these spaces on the first day back, next Tuesday, January 5. The downstairs classrooms are scheduled to be ready for use the following week. The remainder of the newly renovated building; which includes the band room, performing arts and the atrium near the performing arts; is scheduled to be ready for occupancy by the third week of January. All of the outstanding items dates and timelines related to the renovation project are provided by Branco, our construction management company.
If we were to pick one word to describe St. James R-I Schools for the year 2021, it would be “resilience”. We will remain resilient through all of the extended COVID-19 and construction challenges. We will not allow these challenges to detract from our mission to empower students through caring relationships, academic excellence, and community partnerships. The most important thing for us to collectively get right in this new year is to prepare our children for the future. Every one of us has an integral role to play, whether parent, school administrator, teacher, board member, community activist, church leader, elected official, business leader, or student. The preparation begins at birth and while we know the parent is the child’s first teacher, we also know it is much more complex, requiring every one of us to contribute. Of course, one of the challenges is to orchestrate the collaboration, working in harmony, and ensuring no one is left behind. There is a great deal to be done and much of it is hard work. And, it is never ending work.
St. James is a special place, even though we have a number of challenges to tackle this school year. We should always remember to look around and see the beauty and grandeur that surrounds us. We will efficiently and carefully utilize our resources to grow and learn. As a community, we can embrace our opportunities and take advantage of being St. James Tigers while working together to provide a meaningful experience for all of our students. The old saying about “grow where you are planted” is something that we can think about and discover how we can do our part in supporting the growth. Every student is here for a purpose, and we will provide what we have to assist each individual in “growing where they are planted,” while continuing to find ways to maximize that process. We can only get it right together, so we must continually look for ways to make 2021 the best year yet at St. James R-I Schools!
Please continue to utilize our website and Facebook for school information regarding academics and athletics/activities. Go Tigers!!! #stjtigerpride