Message from the Superintendent

Dr. Michael Gill

Greetings,

These past several months have been unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetimes. A year ago, we could have never imagined that March 13 would have been the last day of in-person instruction for our students, or that “social distancing” and “masks required for entry” would be part of our daily vocabulary and habits.

It is indeed a new world, and the start of this school year is going to look unlike any other in our lifetimes. We have bravely weathered this storm together as a community. Through all of these changes, our Tradition of Excellence, the motto that defines Hanover County Public Schools, is firmly intact.

That excellence, and the dedication of our staff, which contributes in such a large way to our tradition, has never been more evident than over the last several months. Our employees pivoted quickly to remote learning in the spring and served nearly 100,000 meals to our students during the shutdown period. They attended professional development sessions and converted lessons to best adapt to a virtual format. Painstaking detail and countless hours have accompanied each of these tasks. Our faculty and staff truly demonstrate why Hanover County Public Schools remains a destination for a top-tier educational experience.

As we enter into this fall semester, we have often used the words “agile” and “flexible,” recognizing that the data associated with this pandemic can change quickly. As such, we must be prepared to pivot our instructional delivery methods in a short period of time. We are committed to doing so, but we also understand that every change, no matter how minor, can represent a disruption to our families. We appreciate your continued grace, support, and patience, and we never take it for granted. We are also committed to communicating with our families at every step, understanding that communication is a two-way street, and we always welcome your feedback.

Whether we are teaching our students in a face-to-face, blended, or virtual format, we recognize that academic preparation alone is not sufficient. In any year, development of the whole child, to include their physical, social, and emotional needs, is paramount. However, in a year in which students are transitioning back to learning after a long break from a routine environment, it has never been more important. In addition to preparing academic instruction, our team has worked hard this summer on age-level appropriate social-emotional supports for all students, to ease stress during this transitional period. This is a natural extension of our focus on mental health, which continues to be a priority in our planning efforts.

For several years, our school division has also worked to promote and ensure that our students’ education is relevant, equitable, and innovative. Those efforts will continue and expand this year. With the distribution of Chromebooks to students, synchronous online instruction, and significantly expanded efforts to promote equity, inclusion, and cultural competency, we remain committed to the importance of this work. Your support in helping us achieve these goals is always valued.

We believe that we are a reflection of the community we serve, and our community is a strong one. 2020 has been a year like none other, and while I’m sure many will be glad to see it go, I am excited about the school year to come. During adversity, we often discover our greatest potential. Working side-by-side, we can do exactly that. Let’s make it happen. Together.

In education,

Michael B. Gill, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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