As we bring the 2020-2021 school year to a close, I want to take this opportunity to say Thank You to the entire Union County Public Schools (UCPS) community and to share a few thoughts related to this historical school year.
When COVID-19 became a reality in March 2020, we knew that school as we once knew it would have to change. Over last summer, school leaders and staff worked tirelessly to determine how to safely reopen our doors in the fall, with the understanding that our students needed to reengage in all things academic and nonacademic in a strategic manner. Then, in August, UCPS lead the State of North Carolina as the largest school district to offer in-person learning options, in addition to offering virtual opportunities for families who requested such.
As time went on and restrictions were lifted, we added more in-person days of school, but that did not come without some challenges. Each day, principals, senior leaders and our Board of Education kept the health and safety of our students and staff as our main priority. When we needed to pivot, we did. When we needed to be more flexible, we adjusted. When we needed to provide more support, we made it happen.
The lessons we learned this year will help us to become a better school system in the future. We are stronger, and we will continue to build on best practices for teaching and learning. We also remain committed to providing social and emotional supports for our students and staff.
As the Super- intendent of Union County Public Schools, I want to express my gratitude and say thank you to every teacher, staff member, principal, administrator, parent, student, Board Member and community member. You too had to pivot, be flexible and offer support during this school year.
I also want to give a shoutout to staff members at the Union County Health Department, Union County Government, Union County Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies. Your partnership and support has been invaluable. We appreciate all that you have done to help us keep our schools safe.
Yes, this past year has been challenging, unprecedented, and difficult at times. But, it has also reaffirmed the fact that the UCPS community stands ready to support each other and to do whatever it takes to ensure student success no matter what obstacle comes our way.
Thank you all for your partnership, for your support, and your dedication to our great school system. I am so proud of Team UCPS!
Andrew G. Houlihan, Ed.D.