Jess Borjon

Pandemic tossed consistency, comfort out the window

Roseville, CA- Twenty five years with RJUHSD means I’ve racked up gobs of lessons learned in education. How to integrate technology into education, the true meaning of the home-school partnership, how to connect with students when they need it the most, and alas, how to pronounce Tik Tok. I’ve seen thousands of students progress through the grades and graduate as young adults prepared to take on their dreams. But nothing over the years has taught me more than the last 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an instant, years of consistency and comfort levels were thrown out the window while teams of staff, students and families were thrown for their own loop. But when the going gets tough, the tough get it done.

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Some of the recent lessons I’ve realized

  • Learning loss due to school closures is a sobering reality. RJUHSD is working to understand how much learning loss our students may have experienced so that we can offer the resources needed to fill this gap. Trying to determine these needs has been similar to assessing flood damage while it’s still raining. We may not understand the full extent of learning loss until we regain our bearings, but our district is committed to providing our students with the education they need to be successful in all their future endeavors.
  • Outlets such as sports and athletics are critical to a student’s social-emotional health and well-being. We are thankful to see more sports returning this spring and how that excitement can light up a student body. Never underestimate the power of extracurricular activities on a child’s ability to thrive.
  • Graduation ceremonies are a treasured memory, and there’s really not an equitable substitute. It’s a rite of passage that will live on alongside milestones such as a wedding or birth. Our district and board understands how pivotal this momentous occasion is for our students and we expect that the Class of 2021 will be able to experience a graduation event marking this important milestone on their school site in late-May.
  • A solid reopening plan for schools has been an ever-changing landscape with guidance adjustments and unexpected movement of goal posts. This has felt much like being a general contractor who is building with a set of blueprints that keep changing. Thanks to the support of our community, staff, families, students and board, we are grateful to have been able to reopen our schools for in-person instruction throughout the twists and turns of safety guidance adjustments.
  • Equity issues with our students have only been exacerbated with COVID-19 and while we examine learning loss we must ensure our students who struggle with learning in general are addressed first and foremost.

Phew! If I could list all the lessons I’ve learned this last year, we would be here all day. One thing is for certain, I am committed to finishing the year strong and ensuring our students continue to receive the best education possible. I hope we can all find some lessons to be thankful for these days.

Jess Borjon
RJUHSD Superintendent