Welcoming back our Heroes at Work!

Today is the first day of inservice for the Elizabeth Lee Black School staff. I thought that I’d share my opening remarks with you as this week’s blog.


Good morning and welcome!

So here we are today, at a GoToMeeting instead of the Forum, in our classrooms with our Teams instead of with the entire school, but we are excited to have you back.

We have been looking forward to your return and the students return since March 12. Who would have guessed that we would be out of school for five months? Certainly not I! We have spent these months planning the safe return of Barber National Institute staff, students and adults. We have been reading and rereading the Guidelines as they change so frequently from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health. We have developed a Health and Safety plan that ensures that our students and staff are safe to the maximum extent possible while maintaining the wonderful, nurturing environment that resonates the spirit of the Elizabeth Lee Black School to everyone who enters our building. Our Health and Safety plan is already in its second draft, reflecting these ongoing changes. You should have a copy in your classroom and can access it on the BNI web page.

We know that there are some conveniences to virtual learning, but we also know that our students learn best when they are in the same room with our expert teachers, therapists, and para educators… with you! Students with special needs present additional unique challenges which makes virtual learning in many cases not successful. But, our children get so much more than academics at school. They also learn social and emotional skills, get healthy meals, exercise, mental health and behavioral support, and many other services that cannot be replicated online. It is with this knowledge and within the parameters of our plan that we have made the determination to return to school full time and to offer families the opportunity to attend remotely, should they wish. We have about 50 children attending remotely or via a hybrid schedule.

As we move ahead, it is critical that we all work together, be patient, and flexible. We know that the situation is very fluid with regulations changing frequently so we will be asking for your support. Working together, I know that we are up for the challenges ahead.

The real heroes of the world are the men and women who take the time to make a difference in the life of a child. That is each and every one of you.

Thank you for all you do for our children. We are so fortunate to have you part of the Barber National Institute family!


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