Savannah Chatham County Teacher of the Year Ernie Lee has been named to one of the six statewide Restart Working Groups created by Governor Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Georgia's K-12 schools and plan for a safe 2020-21 school year. Lee is no stranger to statewide representation. He was the 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Since the beginning of the outbreak and throughout the COVID-19 school closures, state leaders have worked to help school districts prepare and students adapt. The working groups formed today will assist in planning the next steps forward and providing guidelines and supports for schools for the next school year.
“As we've faced the challenge of COVID-19, I have encouraged our local educational leaders to focus on compassion over compliance," Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Our top priority continues to be ensuring that children get through this time healthy, safe, and nurtured and that they have opportunities to learn and grow. These working groups will join us in this student-focused approach and will provide invaluable expertise and perspective as we ensure schools are prepared for the fall and have options to ensure learning continues, following the advice and guidance of public health officials on the national and state levels."
The working groups, which include teachers, school district staff, and public health officials along with representatives of education organizations, nonprofits, and state agencies, will focus on six key topics: school meals; distance learning and professional learning; connectivity and devices; mental health and wellness; supplemental learning; and facilities, equipment, and health guidelines.
Lee feels the appointed group's efforts will be beneficial for all as we navigate these unprecedented times.
“We are in a new situation and it's an opportunity to make some really positive changes so again, while I am excited about the new year I'm a little bit anxious about it as well cause I don't know what it's going to look like. But just because we don't know doesn't mean it's going to be bad," Lee said.
The K-12 Restart Working Group will meet beginning in June. Mr. Lee will serve on the Supplemental Learning Work Group.
Read the entire release from the Georgia Department of Education here.