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Prinicipal’s Corner: People have risen around students in the last year

Principal’s Corner by Nicky Severtson 

Happy New Year!

One year ago, who would have thought we would be navigating through a global pandemic and making adjustments to our school day operations and classroom conditions. It has been a year unlike any other with many changes and unknowns. The one thing constant in our Albert Lea Area Schools has been the dedication to a safe, supportive and collaborative learning environment with effective instruction and student learning both academically and emotionally.

Nicky Severtson

It has been a year filled with flexibility, grace, patience and appreciation by our students, parents, community and school staff. Our students have shown perseverance while shifting to different learning models from in-person, to hybrid to distance learning. Watching them acquire new skills in technology has been exciting. Kindergarten students have done an amazing job learning how to utilize apps on their iPads and joining Google Meets to receive their lessons while our secondary students are mastering breakout rooms and using Jamboards for collaboration with their classmates in a Google Meet. Parents and day care providers have joined the classroom team by working closely with teachers in supporting their learners. 

Our school staff have also risen to the challenges. Teachers continue to plan, create and deliver lessons while maintaining an engaging environment whether in-person or virtually. Paraeducators embrace change as we shift into different learning models and provide child care on Fridays for students of Tier 1 workers. Custodians keep us safe with the deep cleaning of our buildings and following Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. Success coaches and support staff continue to build bridges between home and school, while our food service staff plans and prepares free breakfast and lunch for all children up to age 18 even when we are in a distance learning model. Approximately 45,000 holiday meals were also provided to our Albert Lea families.

This past year we all have really risen together to the myriad of changes and are looking forward to the great things that will continue to be accomplished in the second semester. Together we can do more!

Nicky Severtson is principal of Sibley Elementary.