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Murphy reflects on lessons from 2020
Guest columnist

By Amy Murphy.

As each year closes, there is the hope that a new year will usher in a better one than the last. However, it’s also a good practice to stop and reflect upon the lessons learned from the closing year.

The Bryan County Board of Education has marveled that our employees have exceeded all expectations. COVID-19 upended every school district in the country and ours was no exception. Very few know the level of planning that took place this summer. Summers are traditionally filled with administrators and central office staff preparing for the upcoming school year. This summer, the days were filled with conference calls with the Department of Public Health, with studying the new guidelines for COVID-19, and with trying to prepare for how to open our school doors safely, if at all. There were lengthy discussions and long planning sessions, everyone agonizing over data and plans.

While many school districts across the country remained closed, Bryan County Schools was able to offer a relatively traditional semester of in person instruction, as well as offering an eLearning option for students who needed to learn from home. Our teachers found another level of awesomeness to adapt to the challenges. All our employees took on additional responsibilities to keep our school doors open. We believe they did it so well that most of the community doesn’t truly understand the magnitude of what has been accomplished.

Research is showing very clearly that most students learn best in person. The fact that almost 75% of our students came back to school in person indicates the trust that families have in our schools and our teachers. Next semester even more students have chosen to come back to our school buildings. We believe that our school district is providing a quality education during a time in history like no other. The positive impact on our Bryan County students will be lifelong.

In closing, because Bryan County Schools’ employees are exceptional, the Board of Education feels strongly we must support the standard of excellence and success that is set in our district daily. The Bryan County Board of Education was recently honored to accept the Georgia School Board Association’s “Exemplary Board” recognition, which is the highest level of recognition, highlighting best practices for board governance. We hope the entire Bryan County community will see this recognition as a reflection that we take seriously the opportunity and responsibility to serve.

So, that’s a wrap on 2020. Bryan County Schools is persevering in the face of significant challenges. Our Happy New Year will include celebrating our employees’ and students’ accomplishments while continuing to strive for excellence and success in 2021.

Murphy is chairwoman of the Bryan County Board of Education. She wrote this on behalf of the school board.

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