As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, the Natchitoches Parish School District would like to express its gratitude to the community for everything it’s done to help the district get through such an unprecedented year!
Superintendent Dr. Eloi wrote the thank you letter below:
Dear Parents, Staff and Community Members,
How does one adequately thank a group of people who have continuously done the unimaginable over and over again? Furthermore, how do you adequately put into words your gratitude to staff, parents, students and community members, who have executed an imperfect plan perfectly and done so with grace, humility, and a stoic determination that exceeded everyone’s expectations? That is my struggle. As I sit in my office, I think about how long and hard this year has been for me, but I know that my version of “tough” is of no comparison to what our staff, parents, and students have experienced.
I think about the parents who have had to trust us with their children during these uncertain times. Then I try to imagine what it has been like to be a student in a classroom and how challenging it must have been to be a child during a global pandemic. I think about the Food Service workers who worked in March, April and May during the initial shutdown when all of this was brand new. Then my mind turns to our custodians, many of whom have worked shorthanded all year, who have cleaned the buildings during a time when cleanliness has been paramount in all of our minds. My mind goes to the maintenance department who dealt with multiple ice storms and hurricanes and how they kept the schools going. I then think about the communications and technology team who were called on countless times to fix everything and also communicate to our parish. I try to put myself in the shoes of bus drivers, making their way on their routes and probably the routes of their quarantined coworkers, all while wearing a mask and controlling the behaviors behind them. I also think of the pride I have in our school nurses who have kept our students healthy during the entirety of the year.
One group that I am especially proud of is our school leaders. They have weathered the storm and have navigated the wants and needs of their faculties, students, communities and their superintendent, all while maintaining their professionalism and sanity. I have tried to understand the day to day stresses experienced by all of our stakeholders who came to work and school day-in and day-out, even in the months of January and February when Covid was on the rise, and still managed through the anxiety and stress to bring their best.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing job our board and district office have also done. They have been supportive, creative and diligent in their efforts. It might be easy to view a district or board as aloof or out of touch, but I can attest that they have all been the biggest advocates for our students, parents and staff and have always put them first and foremost in all of their decisions.
Throughout this pandemic the words unprecedented and essential have been tossed around a lot. When I think of these words I think of the unprecedented year our employees have all worked through, our students have learned during, and our community has supported us through, but what truly comes to mind has been how exceptionally all stakeholders have conducted themselves all year. When I think of the word essential, I think of every last one of you. I don’t know what our test scores or school performance will be, and although I care, what I care about even more is the fact that we made it through. I care that you take care of yourself, I care that you rest, relax, enjoy your family, and forget about work and school for a while…because you are ALL essential. Remember that you brought your best, and that you succeeded this year.
I don’t know how to fully express my gratitude, and I don’t think I will ever be able to tell you how much you have all touched me this year. My hope is that the board and I are able to adequately tell you how proud of you we all are and how much we all appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that went into this school year.
Together We Can!
Dr. Grant Eloi
Superintendent Natchitoches Parish Schools
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