EDITOR’S NOTE: The following column is written by Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Keith McBurnett.
Burnet Consolidated Independent School District board trustee Robby Robertson recently reminded me of the theme song to the 1977 classic American road comedy “Smokey and the Bandit.”
The lyrics to “East Bound and Down” say: “We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done. We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.”
That is exactly what planning for the 2020-2021 school year has felt like. The upcoming school year will be like no other that we have ever experienced before, but our entire staff has worked tirelessly to provide the safest learning environment possible for staff and students while also providing access to quality instruction, whether that be in-person or remote. It is hard to believe, but after a summer of preparation, Thursday, Aug. 20, will be the first day of school for students.
The theme for this school year is “Made For This,” and the message I shared with our staff was this: “You were made to make a difference in the lives of our students. You were made to CRAFT the FUTURE. You were made to be a Burnet Bulldog. You were made for Burnet CISD. Whatever your role, you were made for this. Whatever the challenges that are ahead of us, you were made for this. You were made for the 2020-2021 school year.”
Thank you to all of the businesses and churches that shared the “Made For This” message through signs and marquees. Many of our staff wrote to tell me how touched they were by the display of support from our community.
This summer I read “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History,” which chronicled the 1918 pandemic. It is amazing to me how many similarities there are between the 1918 pandemic and the pandemic we are living through right now. What gives me hope is that after the 1918 pandemic came the Roaring Twenties.
Even as we anticipate a return to a sense of normalcy, I want you to know that we are committed to thriving now with our students and not waiting for the new normal. We are growing as an organization in our skills and abilities to be flexible in addressing the needs of students and families, and, for that, we will be a better school district.
With that said, even with extensive planning taking place all summer, I can assure you that our plans will likely have to change during the year based on new guidance from the state or on our commitment to continuous improvement. As we implement our plans, we may find that something doesn’t work as planned. My promise to you is that we will be flexible and adapt as needed and communicate changes to our stakeholders. Many longtime teachers and principals have shared with me that they feel like first-year teachers and principals all over again because everything about school is having to be redesigned. Because of the many unknowns ahead, I would like to ask for your grace and patience throughout the school year as we walk this unfamiliar path.
The entire Burnet CISD staff is excited to welcome parents and students back to school. We have spent considerable time talking about communication and the type of environment we want to create for our students. During the school year, it is natural for a parent to have questions or even a concern at their child’s campus. It is important that questions or concerns be dealt with by the person closest to the issue so that they can be resolved in the best and most efficient manner possible. I encourage parents to discuss their questions or concerns through informal conferences with the appropriate teacher, principal, or other campus administrator. When concerns are expressed as soon as possible, it allows for early resolution at the lowest possible administrative level.
We look forward to working with you to make 2020-2021 a great school year for our students!