As the new school year is now in full swing in both Arizona and Florida, we know that it looks different for everyone. Many students are continuing to work remotely. Many students are doing a hybrid of online and in-person learning. And many students are back to full-time in person learning. But the one constant is the commitment and dedication of the teachers who are working tirelessly to ensure all students receive a high-quality education – regardless of location.
There is no other segment of our society that has been impacted more by this pandemic than education. And yet, our teachers have risen to the occasion and are working hard to connect with their students and deliver the education they deserve.
Research tells us that the most important variable in a student’s success is the quality of the teacher. And, we also know that the teacher-student relationship impacts academic engagement, attendance, grades, and whether a student persists or drops out. These impacts hold true regardless of students' individual, family, and school backgrounds. Experts say strong relationships will be even more important this year, as many students are dealing with the uncertainty and anxiety brought on by the pandemic, the economic downturn, and the social justice issues we are dealing with as a nation.
Throughout both Arizona and Florida, we see the commitment our teachers have to maintaining those relationships and to ensuring students continue to succeed academically. We also see tremendous adaptability, flexibility, and innovation, on the part of all teachers. Remote teachers are building class culture and routines with students they have never met in person, while teachers who have returned to the school building adapt their instruction in light of social distancing and wearing masks. Change is everywhere and our teachers are not only embracing it, they are rising above to make these changes work for students.
Thank you to the teachers and administrators who are persevering and meeting the needs of your students. We admire you and are grateful for you.