Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jamie Williamson

From The Compass Spring/Summer 2021

Greetings Friends and Families, 

As we come to a close on this school year, I’ve been reflecting on what we as The Windward School community were able to accomplish during these past months. We will remember 2020 as the year that we, along with the rest of the world, confronted the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced us to quickly transform our academic program.  

Much of our lives that we took for granted as “normal” drastically changed, but I am pleased to say that The Windward School continues to deliver its research-based, multisensory program to our 940 students. Windward teachers continue to demonstrate their incredible training and show their passion for educating their students during the remote learning period. In typical Windward spirit, the Windward community rallied around the students, the administration, the faculty and staff, and each other. Despite the uncertainty of the times, it is truly remarkable that none of those things changed. 

Although launching our remote learning program and moving all of our daily operations online was not an easy feat, we actively utilized the feedback we received from teachers, parents, and guardians to refine the program until we felt that our remote program met our high instructional standards. Next, we incorporated social opportunities through snack period so our students could have designated time in their daily schedules to reconnect with their classmates. The Windward program was not designed to be taught virtually, yet we created structure and consistency to attend to our students’ academic and social-emotional needs so their schooling provided some much-needed routine during a time of incredible disruption. 

I end my first year as Head of School filled with gratitude to be a member of The Windward School community. Since I called the senior administration team together in late February when the word “Coronavirus” started making headlines, it has been non-stop planning and difficult decision making. From that moment on, administrators, coordinators, teachers, and the technology and communications departments have tirelessly worked throughout Spring Break until the final day of school.  

I cannot tell you how proud I am to lead such an impressive, committed team of educators. The round-the-clock effort from every faculty and staff member was due to the fact that we all care deeply about Windward’s mission and vision: a world where every child with a language-based learning disability is empowered to achieve unlimited success.  

Lastly, I would like to extend my gratitude to our Windward families. I experienced firsthand what it was like juggling both professional demands and assisting my children with their own remote learning programs. I am grateful for your partnership, and I thank you for all you did in supporting your student’s learning during the past few months. Your resiliency and steadfastness modeled for your students what is needed when meeting new challenges. 

Looking ahead to the next school year, I am strengthened by the knowledge that we have the capacity to carry on whatever may come our way. In times like these, I remember that we are all in this together. We will make it through this, and we need each other to do this. 

We stand stronger when we stand together.  

I'm looking forward to our next chapter at The Windward School.  

Jamie Williamson 
Head of School