Healthy green meal prep containers with rice and vegetables

I recently came across a timely quote from Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW (former Weight Watchers) who shared, “Never waste a good crisis. Learn from it.” Certainly, in these ever-changing times, we are learning volumes from our new normal. 

I have learned that educators are incredibly devoted to their work. Student success means everything to them. They have been working collaboratively through Zoom online meetings to plan for their students’ needs. Our support team from Educational Services is developing online lessons and packets for instructional review that are currently being piloted in five school sites and will soon move to all twelve sites.

Parents are continuously impressed with the care and concern of our educators, checking in weekly with our students and even celebrating their birthdays. As educators, we know that social/emotional health is just as important as academic success.

When our planning went into effect, we knew how vital it is to communicate with parents as well as their students.

Hearing from parents, they praised our multi-platform communication through Class Dojo, School Messenger, texts, calls and postings on our website at, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We have listed all types of resources for families to help keep students happy and engaged in different types of learning and discovery. We are grateful to so many of our Pendergast Partners who have stepped up to assist in this time of need.

During this time, our schools and departments are being deep cleaned and sanitized, following the strict guidelines from the Maricopa County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control. Each piece of equipment and every library book is being carefully cleaned so when students return to school, we have done our due diligence with health and safety in mind.

Our Food Service Department has been serving thousands of meals weekly to children ages 18 and younger. We have a grab and go option with the ability for family members to also pick up instructional packets by grade level for the students. Parents are so grateful that we were able to put this into place immediately, so our families would not have to go without food. In addition to our twelve sites offering this option, we also have seven buses that have been stopping in our neighborhoods at 42 sites for ease of use. In addition to health and safety, proper nutrition at this time is vital.

As a forever optimist, we wanted to ensure our families and community partners feel connected to us. We have started the Believer Campaign because Pendergast is “The District that Believes in You.” We are asking our students, staff, families and the communities to put a sign in their windows with a bee and some encouraging words or advice. 

We want everyone to know we are here for them.

We know that passion, perseverance and positivity will carry us through these challenging times. We are learning lessons daily but the most important one is that we are all in this together and we will come out stronger. I am grateful to everyone for their patience and creative connections during this unprecedented time. Hats off to our educators, first responders and healthcare workers who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic through their selfless actions.

I believe we will learn our valuable lessons and show how strong and united we are as we move ahead in the coming days, weeks and months.