Op-Ed: A Reflection on 2020 

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As we close out the year 2020, we do so with an immense sense of pride for the New Canaan Public Schools. Thank you to our school administrators, teachers, and staff for your unwavering dedication to our students this year. Your courage, compassion, and wholehearted commitment have lifted up our students and our entire community during this time. Our students have benefited greatly from consistent in-person and remote learning, robust health and safety mitigation strategies, and a collective spirit that we will persevere and achieve great things through working together. 

Dr. Luizzi, together with his team of exceptional administrators, building principals, and department leaders, continue to lead fearlessly with a focus on delivering educational excellence to our students under extraordinarily challenging circumstances. 

Together with our administration, our unions have demonstrated the power of partnership and communication, and a commitment to continuous education for our students in a time of great need. This partnership should serve as a model for our state and our nation. 

Our teachers, counselors, and aides have gone above and beyond to educate and support our students across in-person, hybrid and remote formats, and have gracefully juggled, adapted, and transformed continuously this year. There aren’t enough ways to say thank you for being there for our kids. 

Our school nurses have worked tirelessly to keep our schools and communities safe through 24×7 contact tracing and quarantine tracking, all while continuing to support the mental and physical health of our students. 

Our athletic coaches and performing arts directors have delivered modified co-curricular programs in new and creative ways to provide students with a sense of normalcy and a venue for continuing to enjoy and pursue their passions. 

Our district technology services team phenomenally prepared and distributed a technology device to every single student and teacher in our district while providing remote support and ensuring the stability and security of our ever important wifi and networks. 

Our facilities, maintenance, and custodial crews hand-crafted a myriad of solutions to bring our students together safely and have adapted to rigorous new daily protocols for cleaning, ventilation, and building maintenance. 

Our front and back-office staff, campus monitors, food service teams, and bus drivers have adapted to new operational procedures, working with our students and behind the scenes to keep the school days running smoothly and safely. 

Our First Selectman, Board of Selectmen, Health Department, Board of Finance, and Town Council have been true partners and have invested significant time, energy, and funding to help keep our schools open this year. 

Finally, our amazing students, whose patience and perseverance throughout this pandemic fill us with inspiration and hope for the future. In the face of heartbreaking disappointments and missed celebrations, they have demonstrated incredible resilience and social-emotional agility. Together with their families, they have remained flexible, supportive, and responsive to ever-changing schedules and state mandates. 

With profound gratitude and appreciation, we pause to celebrate these efforts and individuals. 

As we look towards 2021 and the remainder of this school year, we do so with great anticipation for a brighter future ahead. People, relationships, and collaboration are the life force in our schools. Our unity has been our strength, and it will carry us forward. Through that lens, we have achieved, and will continue to achieve wonderful things. 

We wish everyone safe and happy holidays and a very happy new year. 

New Canaan Board of Education 
Katrina Parkhill, Chair 
Brendan Hayes, Vice Chair 
Julie Mackle Reeves, Secretary 
Dionna Carlson
Carl Gardiner
Bob Naughton
Penny Rashin
Jennifer Richardson
Sheri West

9 thoughts on “Op-Ed: A Reflection on 2020 

  1. We must also thank you, the members of the New Canaan Board of Education, for how hard you have worked this year. Volunteers like you are a large part of what makes New Canaan a very special place. Thank you for all you do for our wonderful town.

  2. Katrina,
    This letter takes the words out of my mouth! Many of us move here specifically for NCPS and I am more than grateful for that decision many years ago!! Thank you and the Board of Education team for your time and extraordinary efforts in making NCPS a model district. We are all very grateful.
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday and a happy & healthy 2021.
    Kimberly

  3. The NCPS administrators, teachers, nurses, and staff have always been an example of excellence, but what they have done this year for our families and community is truly remarkable. This is such a lovely letter expressing so perfectly the immense gratitude we also feel. Wishing all of them and our BOE that has also worked so tirelessly on behalf of students a very happy holiday.

  4. Thank you all (Administration, NCPS, BoE, town officials and services, et al) for your extraordinary dedication, commitment and tireless efforts on the part of our children! Wishing each of you and your family a very happy, healthy, peaceful and blessed holiday season as we wrap up 2020! Here’s to an exceptional 2021!

  5. Fantastic work by everyone involved, and by town residents who supported keeping schools open, while also fighting the pandemic. New Canaan showed it is possible to do both things at the same time.

  6. We chose to move to town because of the schools last year… pre-Covid. It was the best decision we ever made. I don’t think you can top Dr. Luizzi even if you looked for a 100 years. This BOE is extraordinary. Let us not ever take this for granted. This is NOT the norm in all towns unfortunately. This group go above and beyond every day and keep the children of this town top of mind always. Even if the decision is unpopular or may cost $$. It’s the kids first… always. And that is why we live here. Congratulation to all of you for exceeding your game this year. We are appreciative in 2020 more than ever!!
    The Vitale family

  7. Here, here! Bravo 👏🏼 to our NCPS teachers & administrators for keeping our beloved community safe, no matter what. We love you! Onward ♥️

  8. This is my 4th year working for NCPS, and what a year it has been. I am so proud of every single person in this organization and all that has been accomplished in this unprecedented year. Thank you to the BOE and Administration for the positive support and faith that you have given us throughout. Have a wonderful holiday and a healthy, happy new year!
    ~ Jen Pacelli, Tech Integrator

  9. What a perfect article! It captures how so many of us feel and have expressed to each other day after day. “Thank you NCPS Community” just doesn’t seem enough! Having spent my entire life in NC and having gone through NCPS myself, times like this reaffirm why I chose to settle down in NC and raise my family here. My deepest gratitude to all of you for always putting my children’s well-being first. Happy New Year!

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