Last week our students began returning to school full-time. This is the first week since mid-March that our school district had every K-12 student on campus at the same time. We have been on a roller coaster since the spring and it will likely continue to be for the near future. 

Personally, I am a very strategic person. Impulsive risk is not something that I naturally gravitate towards and have not done so throughout my life. For me personally, the last several months have forced me to think and operate differently. It has been something I have struggled with in more ways than one. 

Doubt creeps in my head often. Doubt is powerful. Doubt has settled in several places in my thinking. I remain vigilant in my reading of data, articles, news, and conversations with colleagues. I attempt to gain feedback from all stakeholders. Admittedly, this is something that can always be strengthened. There is a process to weighing positives and negatives, scenario planning, and predicting outcomes. However, doubt can settle into your head. 

How do you battle doubt? I think a first step is understanding that you are serving and working for something greater than yourself. I believe wholeheartedly that every person is designed for greatness. Each of us has the ability to change the world in big and small ways. As a school district, my hope is we provide that ambition to every young person and adult that walks through our doors. 

The second step is surrounding yourself with great people. The people working with our young people everyday erases much of that doubt. Our teachers, support staff, and principals are tireless advocates for students. Our students and families are committed to making a difference in Fairbanks. This helps our school achieve its collective mission. 

Finally, clarity is key. As individuals and as an organization, we do not have certainty and will not have it for the foreseeable future. In the absence of certainty, clarity must be provided about our priorities. Our priorities start with our five expectations for all staff. It is what our schools fall back to during uncertainty – “Care About Kids; Connect; Communicate, Communicate, Communicate; Believe in Growth; Care About Kids”. We are in the business of supporting young people. Regardless of certainty, that will remain clear. 

While we will continue to have uncertainty for the near future, our service to a greater purpose, surrounding ourselves with great people, and working towards clarity will erase much of the doubt that creeps into our thoughts. Thank you to our teachers, support staff, principals, parents, community members, and students for embracing the opportunities during the 2020-2021 school year!

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