Like running a country: What it meant to be a schools superintendent this summer

Like running a country: What it meant to be a schools superintendent this summer

He was sitting in his dining room, which is what counted as his workplace these days. Long ago forced to abandon his spacious corner office — with views of green treetops, rippling as far as the eye could see — he had lately also been forced out of his wife’s home office. The Zoom chatter gave her headaches, and Hutchings was on calls from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. most days. Sometimes on weekends, too. She explained for the second time that the team wanted to postpone sending out a survey asking parents and staffers to report their enrollment plans for 2020-2021. Hutchings had earlier promised to send the survey on Aug. 3, but Reingold said that was too early; the school system should wait until after Alexandria had decided between virtual and in-person learning, or a mix of both. Campus had been closed since March, shuttered in an attempt to stem the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. Thorny questions had cropped up quickly ever since: How do you keep kids learning for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year? How do you ensure children reliant on school meals keep eating? How do you deliver technology and Internet access to households in need of it? In April, he decided that Alexandria needed to professionalize the planning process if it was going to get this right. He hired Education Elements at a cost of about $58,000. The planning group mushroomed to 150 people, subdivided into five task forces: social, emotional and academic ...
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