Kim Boundy: On the road to success
Since the first day of school of the 2020-21 school year, Union Hill School District has been open, offering choices for on campus instruction as well as remote learning. The education and well being of our students has always taken a front seat on this unexpected COVID journey.
Reaching such a monumental milestone in these uncertain times has not been without obstacles to overcome. The planning, collaboration, and constant energy that it has taken to remain open all year is credited to the dedicated teaching staff, support staff, administration, parents and students. It takes the whole team to make the wheels turn.
Currently, the campus of Union Hill comes alive as students start their day, both for the AM and PM cohorts. While maintaining all social distance requirements and honoring health precaution requirements, students gather together on the blacktop for the flag salute, daily games to promote socio-emotional health and, always a Fun Friday end of week thematic activity.
Student supports and extracurricular activities available for sign ups include counseling services, before and after school tutoring, internet learning lab, and mountain bike club.
School counselor Scott Mertz, who co-leads the Mountain Bike Club enthusiastically notes, “Student mental health has been a challenge in the pandemic and the Mountain Bike Club has been a tremendous outlet for our students to be outside, supporting each other in a common passion, and having a great time on their bikes.”
The staff at Union Hill Elementary and Middle School have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of each individual student, many giving of their own time to help a child be successful.
Principal Joe Limov is clear about the staff effort, “Each person on staff; custodians, classroom support staff, school and district office staff, administration, and teachers are redefining their jobs, leading the learning and gaining new skills with the continued focus on what is best for our students and their families.
Maneuvering the twists and turns of both Hybrid AM/PM cohorts and remote learning has been met with confidence, expertise, and perseverance from the entire Bearcat Family.”
Many Union Hill families anticipating the return of extracurricular activities are thrilled to hear that the third and final trimester of the year will bring back much needed programs to our students. Cross country, Beginning & Bearcat Band, vocal ensemble, and the introduction of play equipment will all return to eagerly waiting students.
Very specific safety protocols are being institutionalized to make these activities possible. Cross country coach Dominic Albano explained: “Our fourth- through eighth-grade runners are so excited to compete. Following social distancing protocols and wearing masks when not running, they know they must be disciplined about safety but when that starter gun goes off at our first dual meet on March 10, they’re going run like never before!”
As the light of less restrictive programs shines on our current year, Union Hill School District is looking toward an even brighter 2021-22 with the campus open with full day in-class instruction. Parents voiced their opinion loud and clear in a recent survey in which 94% selected full day in class instruction as their No. 1 choice. The planning has begun.
According to first year Superintendent Andy Parsons: “Next year is going to be a resurgence in learning, an appreciation from all our stakeholders for what a great education provides, taking what we have learned during the pandemic, and enhancing the Union Hill tradition of excellence. Students, families, and staff are excited, anticipating a return to full time to school.”
Kim Boundy is a school secretary at Union Hill School in Grass Valley.
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