On Monday morning, 1,978 Winthrop students filed into the district’s four buildings, marking what was the first full day of in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year. After spending a year of mostly remote learning and adapting to the hybrid learning model that commenced on January 4, 2021, teachers, students and staff were eager to get back in the classroom.
During Monday night’s school committee meeting, Superintendent Lisa Howard shared her experience walking through the different buildings earlier that day.
“It was breathtaking to see and I don’t think I could give today the justice it deserves. It’s hard to grasp what it’s like to be a child or teacher in a classroom during a pandemic and it was amazing to see how each building organized the day’s activities. Every single person had a job.”
Howard compared the organization of the staff and students to an upbeat and energizing assembly line. While the majority of students were content, a few anxious ones were spotted by prepared adjustment counselors.
“Lunch staff, recess monitors, nurses, ESP’s, custodians, teachers and students worked together to direct traffic, continuously sanitize, and follow direction. It was like watching an Olympic sport. I want to thank every member of WPS staff, our students, the WPS administration, the school committee, and the parents for taking this ride with us. We’re one heck of a team.”
In the Commonwealth, Winthrop Public Schools is one of only a handful of districts that have students in grades K-12 in full, in-person learning. While Howard admitted she doesn’t know what the future holds, she wants everyone to be mindful of what has been accomplished as a community.
“This marks the first week in over a year that our students were able to come into school for five days of in-person learning,” said WMS Principal, Brian Curley, who literally rolled out the red carpet for his students in grades six through eight. “We understand things have not been perfect, but we will keep trying our best to provide the safest and most positive learning environment for our students. I would like to thank the students, WMS families, WMS staff, and the community for all their support during these challenging times.”
Students at all four schools were welcomed back in different ways. For the Gorman Fort Banks (GFB) students, a colorful sign donated by Mrs. Patricia Synnott, was front and center for students to see as they filed in masked and six feet apart.
“The GFB was excited to welcome students back with uplifting and important messages,” said Principal, Ilene Pearson. “We celebrate our students every day and in all ways. We are off to an energetic and enthusiastic start.”