Concern. Stress. Worry.
Those are just a few of the words that describe the flood of emotions that I went through when I learned that the roof at Kenwood School’s gym had collapsed before sunrise yesterday.
And then I heard this, “Everyone is safe.”
Relief. Thankfulness. Time to exhale.
As Superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools, the safety and health of our students – each and every one of them - is a heavy weight that I carry with me always. That said, I have chosen this path and I am honored to be able to serve you and your students in this role.
As a community, we are rightfully lamenting the loss of a beautiful, historic school building that has provided us with decades of great memories. It was a sad moment, but we will rebuild.
But by the grace of God, the building was empty when it came down. Our gym came down, but our spirits are high because our families are still together. We did not lose a precious child, parent, sibling or friend.
Today is a new day – and a beautiful one in many ways.
We are together and possibly stronger than ever. Our community continues to show unwavering support for our schools and staff. We appreciate your civility and compassion as we deal with adversity – from missing school due to severe weather, to short notice requests to pick up students from school, to more days off as we assess the structural integrity of all of our schools.
On behalf of myself and our more than 1,800 staff members, I say thank you.
Your support means more than you know and gives us renewed energy as we move ahead.
Our maintenance crews have been working nearly round-the-clock to remove snow from schools, roofs and our other facilities for weeks – and they are not giving up. While the work is demanding, it is truly a labor of love for our staff. Our maintenance crews love these facilities are giving this effort their all.
We hope to be back to school soon. I shared, last week, that we planned to add four days to the end of our school year. Based on what I know today, this is still my plan.
Next week, I will petition the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for a waiver of instructional time standards. I hope that the state will look favorably upon our request for flexibility in our calendar given our unprecedented situation.
I believe that through continued, exceptional instruction and hard work by our students; our students will still be able to demonstrate proficiency in their subject areas this school year, even with the reduction in days.
Again, thank you to all of you who have reached out with messages of support. To our fire fighters, structural engineers and others who have walked alongside us during these recent days, we appreciate you all. To our staff, you are simply amazing.
Superintendent Shay Mikalson