Convocation kicks off 'a very different school year'

White text that reads "Convocation 2020" against a blue background

In a sign of the uneasy times facing school districts across the state and country, the City School District of Albany kicked off the 2020-21 school year for all employees Wednesday with its first-ever Virtual Superintendent’s Convocation. 

Faculty and staff throughout the district gathered remotely in building teams to watch a 30-minute convocation video focused on equity in education and social justice. Employees then continued the day with virtual training and preparation for a new year that already has been significantly altered by the continued presence of COVID-19. 

For students, the school year begins with a partial day of virtual orientation on Wednesday, Sept. 9. More information about the September calendar and student schedules will be forthcoming prior to that date.

“We know that this will be a very different school year due to COVID-19,” Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams said in her virtual message. “I am looking forward to working with all of you to explore the new opportunities that this school year will provide us to serve our students and families in new and meaningful ways.”

The superintendent acknowledged the challenges society is facing due to the worldwide pandemic, and the disruptions it has caused for American education since March. 

She also spoke to the social justice and anti-racist movements that have grown across the county in response to the tragic deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement, and the massive budget cuts districts like Albany are facing as a result of the paralyzing impact that COVID-19 has had on the U.S. economy.

“We know we will face challenges this year to close achievement gaps,” Adams said. “These achievement gaps, coupled with the external pressures on our families and our society, will impact our educational system for years to come. 

“It is up to us to change the trajectory of continued academic gaps by facing these challenges with courage, with boldness, with innovative instructional strategies, and the willingness to build relationships and make a difference in the lives of our children beyond ourselves.”