Jessica Sidman and Hallie Hughes: Appreciates hard work of school officials

Thursday, August 27, 2020

We are writing as a Crocker Farm and Amherst Regional Middle School parents and former Crocker Farm PGO co-chairs.

We want to express our gratitude for all the hard work Superintendent Mike Morris, the School Committee and our teachers are doing to prepare for the upcoming school year. Over many, many hours this summer we have watched the School Committee deliberate and debate one of the most consequential decisions our community has faced.

Your dedication and humanity has shown through as you call in from cars, couches, home offices and bedrooms. These unusual circumstances have given us a unique opportunity to literally see where you sit, and from which we can glean a little more about what you are dealing with during these unprecedented times.

We appreciate the candor and openness displayed as the School Committee has literally invited the community into your respective homes and offices as you have wrestled with difficult decisions. It is all there for families and community members to see. The meetings are available to stream on Amherst Media.

The decision to release full responses from two large surveys this summer is a testament to the commitment of Morris and the School Committee to proceed with transparency for families. In today’s divisive political climate, we were heartened to see that the district and the APEA were able to reach a compromise late last week.

This compromise and the compromises to come are a testament to the level headedness and priorities of our teachers, administrators and committee members. This is ultimately a very live and real demonstration of leadership and compromise for our children. We know that the committee is pulled in many directions, including fulfilling a duty to provide for kids who desperately need contact with adults in the community as well as supporting teachers so that they can do their jobs safely.

We trust that we will be guided by scientific and fact-based recommendations chosen to keep our community safe. Anyone who has watched these meetings knows that you are all trying your best. Just as we are well aware that teachers are concerned about their families and safety. Finding a way to balance these needs is an extremely difficult task.

As former PGO co-chairs, we have a small taste of what it is like to put in volunteer hours and want you to know that you have our sincerest gratitude. We are so deeply moved by the work you are doing for the community while dealing with all of the other pressures of regular life, not just the pandemic. Thank you for sticking with us and working for us.

Jessica Sidman

Hallie Hughes