“There Are So Many Unknowns.”
Corey Miklus became superintendent of Seaford (Delaware) Public Schools in January. On March 13 he closed the buildings to students. “These are some challenging times, but we’re figuring it out just like everyone else is.”
Since closing its doors, the district has distributed 600 computers to families and worked with local internet providers to provide Wi-Fi for low or no cost. But in the rural part of his district there is no internet coverage available. So the district has spent $8,000 in postage to send books and materials home to students. Teachers are calling families and students weekly and more than 100 teachers and staff members recently drove through neighborhoods in parades to let students know they were thinking about them. “That has been our focus,” Miklus says. “The learning, yes, but right now it is truly keeping in contact with everyone and making sure they’re safe.”
To try to provide a common experience, the district is looking to adopt one book that all students and community members can read during this time and is currently working through the logistics of buying and distributing the book, preparing materials to go along with the book, and making videos of teachers reading it aloud. One Book, One Seaford, Miklus says, is “another way to unite everyone together around one common goal.”
Miklus has worked with the mayor and the president of the local hospital to keep the community informed about the spread of the disease and what is being done in response. He has also worked with his staff to develop contingency plan upon contingency plan, what Miklus calls the “what ifs.” What happens if students come back May 18, as is currently scheduled? What if Seaford can have some kind of summer school in July? What if students can’t come back until August? What if the virus comes back in the fall and students have to return home? “These are all internal conversations we keep having,” Miklus says, because “we can’t get comfortable in this situation because there are so many unknowns.”
In this podcast episode, listeners will hear how Miklus is grappling with the unknowns and the deep worries he has for young children learning to read, eighth graders learning algebra, and seniors missing their prom.