The Frederick County Board of Education requested a waiver from the Maryland Department of Education to end school 12 days early, the week of June 1 — representing a more than 5 percent reduction of required student seat time. I am thankful the request was denied, and as all boards of education consider education during the pandemic, I have one request: Don’t give up on me.
The FCPS Board of Education’s reasoning for closing school early is what you will hear from many parents, continuity of education is not working. For me, it has. Now before you shoot the messenger, know I didn't major in early childhood education and always dream about homeschooling my kids. I have no educational experience whatsoever. I’m a former lobbyist who used to moonlight as a club bartender on the weekends to cover bills as a single mom.
COVID has been stressful. My alarm goes off at 3:50 a.m. every morning so that I can knock out some work before the kids wake up, but when they do, I’m all in. You’ll find me as a nap time warrior and up late to make sure work is complete.
My work’s paying off. My youngest couldn’t write his name when this all started. Today, he crushed 16 spelling words. My oldest and toddler are making similar significant leaps as well.
The reason why my kids are doing so well is that I’m working hand-in-hand with the teachers. If school ends because we give up, I lose my amazing resources — teachers who will fight through. Teachers like Ms. Christie who plan scavenger hunts to find things that start with “b” and three days later, my son’s still finding birds, bees and boogers. And teachers like Ms. Zoe who are encouraging kids to talk about loss as they use their newly learned figured language to write an elegy — a poem about loss.
We as a community will be behind where we planned to be. Quitting now only means we will be even further behind than where we could be if we struggled through. Who knows when this will end. If this continues, quitting on fall or the 2020-2021 school year is not an option. Our only option is to identify how best to struggle through.
We should be using this time to implement enhanced strategies to provide an even better, more tech-savvy, and interconnected education for a post-COVID world. So, school boards, as you consider the school year 2020-2021 options, let’s keep pushing. Please don’t give up on me.