Three years ago our global community experienced a seismic shift in how we learn and work. In 2020, while we were limited in our travels due to the pandemic, researchers could study the blue skies possibilities that curbing transportation might have in resolving air pollution. People went outdoors and as they walked they met others who live in their communities. People need to express themselves and connect with others, as these window concerts in COVID illustrate. Humanity paused for a collective moment -- we witnessed beauty as well as horror such as George Floyd’s murder and Asian hate crimes. In Milpitas, we made a concentrated effort to be present with one another, to stand alongside and to make this journey in life one that matters, especially on behalf of our MUSD learners.
Three essentials for teaching and learning that we carry forward from MUSD’s nimble response to the pandemic and its persistent changes are mindfulness, technology as a tool for learning, and increasing pathways to career. Encompassing all of these is our Culture of We, which holds diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at its core.
Since 2020, we have embraced the need for learners (children and adults alike) to be in the moment, to learn how to recognize when emotions such as stress or anxiety cloud thinking and deter us from being our best selves. Mindfulness strategies can take less than five minutes to learn and practice, while yielding so much more. Pausing for a moment to listen, to experience nature, just as we did in 2020 provides our brains with the opportunity to downshift the emotional wash and turn up our cognitive function. Connecting with one another before diving into subject matter fosters belongingness.
Technology tools such as Google Workplace/Classroom, Nearpod, Slido, Flipgrid, and Padlet provide learners and educators with the ability to learn, communicate, and collaborate from anywhere -- across the desks, from home, and across countries. MUSD EducatEveryWhere, developed during the pandemic, is the symbol of our ability to adapt and innovate. It now houses our independent study program and represents one of many pathways we strive to provide for our learners. Every student in MUSD has a district-issued digital device which can go home if needed. Our teachers use Google Classroom as a way for learners to organize their work, prepare for learning and demonstrate creative ways of applying what they learn.
COVID data in Silicon Valley where 48% of all service sector jobs were lost, while the health care and tech industries saw an increase in jobs, is a reflection of why MUSD Strategic Goal #3 building pathways for all learners is top of mind. The MUSD Innovation Campus will house Milpitas Adult Education, Calaveras Hills High School, and the MHS 2nd Campus -- its phase I buildings are 4 months away from completion! While this campus illustrates ingenuity, every one of our school programs has an element of signature practices and deeper learning. Every MUSD family, every MUSD team member, and every MUSD student has been an essential part of our evolution since 2019-20. Our Schools are Our Community, and together WE persisted throughout the COVID crisis. We are MUSD and We are on the Move!