Superintendent Newsletter

Superintendent Press Release September 29, 2023

Dear Cedar Bluffs Families,

The global coronavirus pandemic disrupted almost everything about our lives and ultimately strained trust in many of the overarching systems we depend on. New research suggest it may have changed American’s personalities, too, and not for the better. Researchers noted significant declines in the traits that help us navigate social situations, trust others, think creatively, and act responsibly. These changes were especially pronounced among young adults. While around half of K-12 parents said the first year of the pandemic had a negative emotional impact on their kids, an even larger share (61%) said it had a negative effect on their children’s education. The COVID-19 pandemic-related social restrictions forced many people to change how they communicate. Instead of face-to-face interaction, people used social media and text-based communication to connect through the various lockdowns or stay-at-home orders. This may have resulted in social displacement or replacing face-to-face contact with virtual interaction. Eating disorders in adolescents have increased by 25% according to several studies, as did substance use, researchers discovered. Furthermore, according to anecdotal reports, the pandemic may have negatively impacted behavior by contributing to a rise in incivility and rudeness, which may well have occurred due to chronic exposure to stress and an anxiety-inducing news cycle. Healthcare professionals have reported experiencing incivility. According to one analysis using data retrieved from an online survey, 45.7% of nurses polled reported witnessing more rudeness than before the pandemic.

It is never wrong to be nice to people; especially people that don’t think or act like us. With all the hostility on television and the hatred people express on social media, it’s astonishing the level of intolerance being exuded. Everyone deserves the same respect and civility that we ask from those around us and if you wouldn’t say it to someone who is in the same room with you, don’t put it on social media. This past week Cedar Bluffs Public School invited a counselor who works at Omaha Public Schools to come visit with our kids about her school. Her school lies in North Omaha and although different, the kids in her school are the much the same as ours. Her school is in a tough part of Omaha, where just this week, she stated they locked down for about an hour as a gun fight occurred within 3 blocks of the school. Something that is too often heard around her school. However, her kids have aspiration and dreams much like our own students, they struggle with the same questions and concerns as our students, and they excel in all the same arenas but too often students are her school are judged before anyone gets to know them. Her request of our students is to just be kind. Everyone is dealing with something, and some are dealing with more than you can image. You just never know what someone is dealing with, so be kind. She told a story of a 2nd grade student who went home every night to a house that had no electricity because they couldn’t afford it. She talked about a 4th grade student who stopped coming to school because he was recruited into a gang just like his older brothers, who were both killed, by a single bullet. I think the stories helped our students understand empathy, or at least I hope it did and in the end; our desire is that our students will be respectful, kind and tolerant of everyone.

Have a great weekend - Wildcat Pride!