Sylvania School Superintendent geared to meet challenges facing schools

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

With just two weeks on the job and moving to Sylvania, new Sylvania Schools superintendent Dr. Veronica Motley continues to face each day with a smile despite the challenges of today’s “new normal.”
“At least I’m smiling behind the mask,” she chuckled. “Smiling is something I have control of.”
She added, “This is an unprecedented time, as we all know. There is not a playbook or manual for dealing with the situation we are facing. But, our school board, administrators and teachers are working together to develop a plan which will allow us to continue to serve our students in the best and safest way possible.”
Motley emphasized, “This is a TEMPORARY new normal and I look forward to the time we can change our focus and energy on our true reason for being here: providing an exceptional education for our students, but, for now we are facing an uphill, rugged terrain. While we practice due diligence during the decision-making process, we continue to find unexpected outcomes and consequences from those decisions which in turn, require even more decisions. Each decision that we make appears to have tentacles. But speaking on behalf of the school board, we all have a strong desire to have our students back in school sooner rather than later.”
What is your advice to working parents who do not have a support group nearby to help?
I encourage parents facing any challenge to reach out to their children’s teacher, school principal or school counselor. This will allow school personnel to assist their child’s needs and can help to develop a plan to support the families albeit academic or social/emotionally.
Do you have advice for parents to maximize their students’ virtual learning experiences?
First, I encourage parents to connect with other parents and perhaps form small groups and learning pods. In addition, I encourage parents to be engaged with your child. Continue to ask them about what they are learning while online, just as they would in a typical learning environment. Also, do not hesitate to stay in communication with your child’s teacher or teachers and be proactive in reaching out to school personnel for any questions or concerns you may have. Consider finding an academic ‘buddy’ for your child. Please remember to practice patience with your child as each student learns at a different tempo. And finally, I cannot emphasize enough to keep the lines of communication open with our Sylvania teachers.
Have you had previous experience with virtual learning?
As a matter of fact, I have had quite a bit of experience with virtual learning both as a teacher and as a student. I taught virtual classes for 10 of the 14 years I spent as an adjunct professor for Ashland University. In the beginning, it was very basic but over the years, the techniques evolved into a very comprehensive platform. Also, in my former position, I led the technology efforts for students and teachers. We began offering virtual assignments for students over two and a half years ago, allowing me to experience and reconcile many of the challenges virtual learning can present. As a lifelong learner, I continue to enroll in various courses. Over the past several years each course has used a hybrid model or some level of virtual learning component.
What are your plans to develop positive relationships with your staff?
Under the current conditions, meeting everyone in person presents another challenge. However where there is a will, there is a way. I will be visiting schools once teachers and students return to school and, of course, I’ll be wearing a different decorative mask each day.
However, until we can once again gather in large groups, I am looking forward to connecting with staff in each building virtually.
What do you want the community to know?
We are thoughtfully continuing to work through the current situation, paying attention to details, as well as developing additional plans that will allow us to maneuver multiple scenarios. Please know we continue to refine our plans in a manner that we believe is best for keeping the safety of our students and staff a priority.

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