“This pandemic, although not the education we want for students, has really forced us to roll up our sleeves and dig into what distance learning is, what it is not, and how to do it well.”
Episode 36: Show Notes.
The pandemic has put enormous strain on schools and if there is one thing we can take away from it all, it is a reaffirmed belief in the value of education. My conversation today is with Dr. Paul Marietti, Superintendent of the Fowler Unified School District about how he and his community have taken up the many challenges posed by the COVID outbreak. Paul spent the bulk of his education career in Southern California as a teacher and site and central office leader before moving to Fowler for the superintendency. We start our discussion listening to Paul’s experiences coming into Fowler as a first-time superintendent and having to put all his plans on hold when the pandemic suddenly hit. The pandemic thwarted access to education in significant ways across all school districts, and Paul speaks to the traumatic effects of this on the students, and how the Fowler United School District took up the challenge by providing support in many different ways. Listeners will also hear how Paul has taken on the technology challenges brought about by the need to shift to a distance learning model so that connectivity is ensured across the district's school communities. We wrap up with some final thoughts from Paul about how the threat posed to education by the pandemic has instilled a valuable lesson in his communities about its value, and that no matter how good your tools are, what matters most is the connection between a student and a teacher.
Key Points From This Episode:
“It’s been a challenge, coming into the superintendency as a first-year superintendent, creating a vision and trying to find a plan to find areas where we can improve and get better and then come March, it’s almost like all the gates are shut and the doors are locked, and we said, ‘Stop everything that you are doing, we have a whole new challenge for you.’” — Dr. Paul Marietti [0:06:42]
“This pandemic, although not the education we want for students, has really forced us to roll up our sleeves and dig into what distance learning is, what it is not, and how to do it well.” — Dr. Paul Marietti [0:09:24]
“There is a camp of people that say, ‘Kids need to go to school, open up the schools,’ and there are other parents and community members saying, ‘We need to wait until it is safe.’” — Dr. Paul Marietti [0:21:21]