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Superintendent's Message 2020-12-17

Dear Salt Lake City School District community, 

I want to start my message to you today by expressing my gratitude for the work our teachers and staff have undertaken during the pandemic on behalf of our students and their families. Our educators in the Salt Lake City School District have done a phenomenal job of teaching and engaging students in spite of numerous challenges.  Our custodial staff has kept our schools clean and safe. Our Child Nutrition workers have worked tirelessly to feed kids nearly every weekday for more than nine months. Our Transportation workers, our office staff, our paraprofessionals – EVERYONE – has gone above and beyond their regular duties to make sure that even during a global pandemic, we can continue to support and serve our students and their families.  

Winter Recess starts next week, and I hope these tireless workers – and all of you – can enjoy some well-deserved time off.  

Please continue reading for the remainder of this week’s newsletter. 

-- Larry Madden ----- 

This is my last newsletter for 2020, and I find myself reflecting on the last year, and especially these last 9 months. 2020 has been a year that no one could have predicted. While it may be easy to focus on the negative, this year has also brought countless opportunities to celebrate and grow. 

I can’t say enough about the wonderful employees in this district. It is an honor to work with them. 

  • In March, teachers were asked to completely change their method of teaching within the space of a few days, and they did it. This summer, they spent weeks honing their skills and learning new technology. They are true examples of life-long learners as they have continued find new ways to reach out to families and students.  
  • Our Child Nutrition teams changed from serving in lunchrooms to serving students and families on sidewalks, in parking lots, and from mobile food delivery buses. They worked with ever-changing federal regulations to provide food to as many students and families as possible. 
  • School custodians honed their cleaning regimens to make sure our schools are safe and healthy.  
  • Our computer technicians and IT teams have been working endlessly to keep our computer network and teaching software up and running and to provide students and families with computers and tablets for remote learning.  
  • Our bus drivers have continued to provide needed transportation for our students while also expanding their duties to include delivery of food and other crucial supplies to families in their homes. 
  • Our front office workers have continued to be on the front lines, helping families navigate the day to day of school life under a new, online education system. 
  • The Salt Lake Education Foundation partnered with local companies and community groups to provide students and families with basic necessities, such as food, shoes, warm clothes, and Internet access, increasing many times over the incredible support they were already providing our families pre-pandemic. 
  • Most of our employees had to change their daily habits, the way they use technology, their schedules, and even their daily duties to keep our schools and offices running smoothly.   

I am amazed at the resiliency of our students and families. They have adapted to new schedules and learning methods. They have shown great determination and grit in moving forward through these unprecedented times.  

Living with a pandemic has put a sharper focus on what is truly important. With the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine in the near future, I am looking forward to the future with hope. 

As I mentioned, Winter Recess starts next week, and that means our schools will be closed for two weeks, December 21 – January 1. During this time, we will not be serving student meals, and we will not be hosting any food pantry distributions at our schools or community learning centers. The last day for Grab and Go meals for students is Friday, December 18. Our last Food for Families distribution before Winter Recess will take place on Thursday, December 17, at the Liberty Elementary Community Learning Center, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. Regular food services will resume when schools come back in session the week of January 4, 2021.  

I wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year! 

Sincerely, 

Larry Madden 
Interim Superintendent 
Salt Lake City School District 

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