• Schuessler

There is a popular quote by Damian Barr that is often accompanied by an illustration of boats in a storm at sea. The quote says, “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some of us are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.” 

The illustration has a boat on each wave peak of the storm, ranging from a canoe to an aircraft carrier. When it comes to educating our children in Clear Creek, it often feels like we are in the same storm, especially over the past few years as we have been learning to live with a pandemic all while navigating the “next normal.”

The current Board of Education met in December for a mini-retreat and made a commitment to create a communication plan for Clear Creek School District. I have to admit that I can be very content rowing around in a canoe without any cell service, minding only the clouds in the sky. But, being in a canoe during a storm gives me anxiety. And I am not alone.

We all worry about the future. Creating a way to communicate and build authentic relationships is fundamental in the education of our children. During the retreat, the board decided to use the guidelines the National School Public Relations Association has suggested in developing a communication plan.

We recognize citizens have a right to know what is happening in their school district. We also recognize that we need to improve our two-way communication. We value communicating in-person and are looking at alternative ways to do this in pandemic times.

As your school board president, my plan for increasing opportunities for two-way communication is to set up virtual coffee hours on a bi-weekly basis until the weather improves to allow for more frequent outdoor opportunities to meet. So, as we continue floating along in the storm of the pandemic, the journey of your child’s education and in growing a visionary school district, we want you to know that we value your voice in helping us interpret the needs and values of our community.

The annual Winter Survey is one form of communication that we use to ask for your feedback on topics such as school district spending priorities, welcoming environments, communication, student climate/bullying and parents’ perspective on their children’s mental health. Every February we send out this survey, and this year you can expect to find it in an email, weekly district newsletter, at the parent/teacher conferences and in shout points (such as an email or robo-call).

In addition to the Winter Survey, you also can find the emails for all members of the Board of Education on the district website. All of the members of the board are adept at using different methods of communication. My preferred method of communicating is one I learned last summer on how to saddle two canoes together while on the water so you can float along while you eat lunch or talk logistics.

I wish this method worked for all types of boats, but it doesn’t, and that, my friends, is why communication is fundamental in weathering a storm. 

If you are interested in participating on the Communications Plan Committee, contact board member Jessica North at jessica.north@ccsdre1.org.

Sandi Schuessler is president of the Clear Creek school board.