• A man with a sweater and a tie underneath sitting

      Dr. Mark Anderson (Photo – Felita Kealing)

      Moving to Distance Learning suddenly in March and remaining in Distance Learning has emphasized the importance of building and maintaining connections.

      By Mark Anderson

      At Marshall the work we do is centered on 4 core beliefs: (1) Engaging students in rigorous instruction aligned to standards, (2) Supporting students with high expectations, (3) Partnering with parents for student success, and (4) Connecting with students both professionally and personally. It is our work in connecting to students and partnering with parents that has become the most important to me during this time.

      Our hallways used to overflow with staff and students hustling and bustling: middle schoolers darting around in the crowd rolling over toes and hitting shins with their rolling backpacks; and high schoolers walking as slowly as possible trying their best to appear to not be in a hurry because who needs class when you already know everything?

      The things we miss…

      It is funny the things we miss. And miss you all, I do. I miss saying good morning to everyone and having most the students side eye me wondering who could be so happy and energetic so early in the morning. I miss hearing the laughter of students when they think no one is watching. I miss hearing the music the students create in choir, band, and orchestra. I miss watching the athletes compete and cheering alongside their parents and friends. I miss watching students in the classroom have an “aha” moment after struggling with a concept. I miss the music at lunch, the assemblies in the auditorium, and the rallies in the gym. I miss hearing morning announcements. I miss the energy that the students and staff brought each day.

      Kind words and messages can still be shared

      While it is great to reminisce and smile as I reflect on what was, I remind myself that we still have each other right now. Even though we cannot all be together, we can still connect and partner with each other. Physical distance does not have to keep us from motivating, uplifting, and encouraging each other. Kind words and messages can still be shared. We can still sing, laugh, and dance. I am still here. We are still here. Marshall is still here. And we are all Marshall. We are still one school, one family, and we are still connected.

      What I cherish

      I look forward to the day when we can start to bring students and parents back to campus. Until then we will continue to focus on connecting with students and partnering with parents. I cherish Marshall. I cherish the parents who are trying to work from home and monitor the schoolwork. I cherish the office staff and custodians who come in to work so someone can answer phones, help the students, and maintain the campus cleanliness.  I cherish the teachers who are working tirelessly to still engage students and make sure the students are learning while loved. I cherish the students who have maintained upbeat and optimistic outlooks while coming up with creative ways to stay in touch and keep Marshall traditions going. I cherish my memories for how things were and hope for how things will become.

      Share laughter, smiles, and kindness with each other

      I want you all to know that if you feel alone, if you feel frustrated and want to give up, if you struggle to find love for yourself – we are here to cheer for you, to champion your work, to lift you up, to love you. Marshall is more than just a school. We are a diverse family – a place where each of us can belong. Be the person who reaches out to connect with others. Share laughter, smiles, and kindness with each other. Be the person that makes someone else’s day better.

      Know that you matter. Know that you belong. Know that you are loved. Know that you are Marshall.

      Mark Anderson, Ph.D. celebrates his 10th year as the Principal of Marshall Fundamental Secondary School.

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