Superintendent Shepherd of the Victoria I.S.D. on the start of in-person instruction

Closing Thoughts: A word from Superintendent Quintin Shepherd

The following is an article provided by Supt. Quintin Shepherd of the Victoria I.S.D.

Let’s not get punched in the mouth –we’re back!

Just as everyone is starting to hit a groove with remote instruction, we are going to make our planned pivot to hybrid (remote and in-person) instruction on September 8. The remote start was purposeful to make sure we could dial in, as quickly as possible, effective instruction and management of the learning environment. Now that we are experiencing some initial success, we can build on these skills and start applying them to our hybrid plan. In short, we are adding several layers of complexity to our daily operations (bussing, nutrition, remote and in-person, etc.).

These next few weeks will have some bumps in the road, I can assure you. Although we have done our due diligence in planning, just like the start of remote instruction a few weeks ago there are just some things we cannot prepare for. As former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” I once read a follow-up interview about this statement where he discussed at length the importance of training and strategy to avoid getting punched in the mouth. His statement was never meant to be understood as devaluing the importance of strategy. His thoughts simply pointed out that eventually the strategy will fall apart, and you will get punched in the mouth.

As we work hard to settle into a new rhythm in this hybrid environment, let me thank you in advance for your continued grace and flexibility. Throughout this process we have routinely sought feedback to inform our feed-forward about how we can continue to improve, and we will continue to do this. We will adjust and amend our plans as necessary to keep safety as our paramount concern.

Lastly, let us do our best to not get “punched in the mouth”! What this means for me is scenario planning as much as possible and asking myself and my team a lot of “what if” questions. Many of our scenario plans include the reality if community spread starts to take root on one of our campuses, we may need to pivot back to fully remote to get everyone healthy. I will ask the parents reading this message to also give this scenario some thought. The “what if” question for you is, “what if the campus must close due to COVID-related absences? How will I adjust to support my student scholar?” Planning for this means it will not come as a punch to the mouth if and when it happens. The last thing I want is for you to get punched in the mouth and for us to become accidental adversaries. Let’s plan now so we are prepared for later.

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