By Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus
Los Alamos Public Schools
Dear LAPS Parents and Families,
With student well-being and learning as our top focus area, I want to pause this afternoon and acknowledge the tremendous challenges we are all facing. Since everyone’s experience is unique, I do not pretend to know your individual family situation; however, I can share my own struggles, emotional swings, and failures.
Since the pandemic started and forced the closure of school, I have felt a wide range of emotions reflected in being overly cheerful and sending encouraging messages to outright tears, sometimes at the smallest things. My personal challenges are likely different than yours and I recognize and appreciate that we are all going through the fears of COVID-19 in unique ways. The common experience of working through this pandemic seems to have brought us closer together as a community.
I have also become more acutely aware of my failures and missteps. For example, several months ago, I sent a message trying to compare COVID-19 to previous crises in Los Alamos like the Las Conchas and Cerro Grande fires. Well … this is nothing like breathing smoke, evacuating our homes, and supporting first responders and those on the frontline.
I am hearing you say that this pandemic requires a different response. For parents facing the thought of increased exposure for your children, I hear you. For those trying to juggle work at home and children in remote learning, I hear you. For those wanting stability and fewer changes, I hear you.
Your feelings are valid and your feedback is being heard. If you are reading this message, then you have likely made the choice to stick with LAPS through the pandemic, and for that, I am very appreciative.
Every day, I find myself trying to better learn cognitive, emotional, and compassionate empathy. At the cognitive level, I am trying to put myself “in your shoes” as a parent and see your unique perspective. On the emotional side, I am quite literally right alongside you and experiencing some of the same emotions. From the compassionate side, I am working to feel your pain and take action to help.
Here are a few examples:
We have developed a new LAPS Info Center with the latest updates on COVID-19. This morning, we began developing a new “one-pager” with all of the latest COVID information for LAPS students and parents. This is similar to the one-pager about home screening (attached) that many have found helpful. Soon, we will have a free app called Dr. Owl for you to use before sending children to school.
If you need to talk, my office number is 505-663-2230. We can use the telephone or find a day and time for a mask-to-mask conversation that fits your schedule. I also know that teachers and principals are here to help. We will do everything in our power to make adjustments that work for your children.
Without question, I believe we can work together, support each other in new ways, and make the best of it. We need each other now more than ever before!
Most Sincerely Yours.