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April 3, 2020

Jeffrey Howard
Distance Learning Week Two
Distance Learning… there is still so much to learn, but the staff and faculty and students of Mullen High School will not shrink from the challenge…

I am so very pleased with and proud of the Mullen community for the manner in which we are engaging in Distance Learning. Our transition to this new world has not, of course, been perfect and we are learning as we go, but I have to say that early results are, on the whole, very positive. Teachers are discovering what works well, what does not and what needs to be adapted. Students are doing very much the same thing. The administration, the department chairs, the Distance Learning Task Force and academic departments are meeting, discussing, adapting and growing.

The critical thing here is that we are engaging. That has been my priority as principal, that we continue to engage with our students, that we communicate with them, that we pray with them and that we remind them we love them. 
Teachers are doing this through Zoom, through email, through different apps and modes of communication. They are reaching out to share content, to guide our students to mastery and to remind them that they are (and will forever be) part of the Mullen High School community. I am incredibly moved by their efforts. I am incredibly humbled as well.

This week, students and faculty completed surveys about our initial days in Distance Learning. The Task Force and administration will review this information and continue to make appropriate adjustments to our approach. Any needed and recommended changes will be in place next week.

I would like to thank parents and students who have emailed me or their counselors and teachers to provide feedback and to ask questions about how Distance Learning has started for them. These comments and queries are invaluable to us. I can note that, overall, there are two perspectives emerging and these perspectives are split almost evenly down the middle: students are overwhelmed and have too much work or students are spinning their wheels and do not have enough work. Truly, the opinions on this critical issue are all but evenly divided. 

This is a difficult feedback to parse as an administrator. My hope is the surveys will help clarify directions for us. This much I do know: students learn at different paces and in different ways in a traditional classroom. The same is obviously true - it’s more true - in a Distance Learning paradigm. It is our responsibility to strike a balance among our content, our desire to keep students connected to Mullen, what is going on in the lives of our teachers, what is going on in the lives of our students and what is going in the collective life of the world. 

This is not an easy task.

But nobody said this was going to be easy!

We continue to strive to improve, to fail quickly, to get better. All of these efforts are made on behalf of your students. 

Are we perfect? No. We never are. Are we desperately trying to be the best we can be? Absolutely. We always do.

I love Mullen. I love our students. I love our staff and our teachers. 

That is the most important message I can share with you today!

What’s Next?
A reminder: though we will still be in our Distance Learning posture, Good Friday (Friday, April 10, 2020) and Easter Monday (Monday, April 13, 2020) we be days off. We will not conduct Distance Learning those days. 

Additionally, as you have learned from the note Dr. Cardenas and I sent earlier this week, the physical campus of Mullen High School will now be closed through at least April 30, 2020. 

As I noted last week, our intention and plan is that many events scheduled in the spring will happen after that date but, when we return to normal operations, we will have to be flexible in how we approach all items on the schedule. We will have venue considerations, timing considerations, planning considerations and the like. 

We continue to pray that we will be together again - physically - this year!
Timely Updates
For the most timely updates of what is going on this trimester, please visit the SPRING 2020 page on the website. 

See you as soon as possible!