Our Five Ring Circus: The End of the 2020-2021 Pandemic School Year

Friday, June 11, 2021

The End of the 2020-2021 Pandemic School Year

Big family blog

We are one week into Summer Break, and the last day of the 2020-2021 school year is behind us! It was a year unlike any other, but we are thankful that our kids stayed in school in person for the majority of the school year. It was, however, a year full of wearing masks to school, social distancing, and very few school events.

This year, Dylan was in 10th grade, Lexie was in 8th grade, Lily was in 4th grade, and Liam was in 2nd grade. It was Lexie's last year in middle school, and Lily's last year in the elementary school. Next year will be so different for all of them! Dylan and Lexie will be in high school together, Lily is moving up to the 5th/6th grade building, and Liam will be all by himself at the elementary school. Although we're glad the year is over, the end of the year is always bittersweet, because our kids are growing up so fast!

Despite the circumstances, it was a fairly good year for our kids. They had great teachers, and they thrived. We are very hopeful that the upcoming school year will be much different - normal perhaps. It's not time to thank about that just yet...we have almost 3 months of Summer fun ahead of us!

This school year was NOT quite as life-changing as the 2020 pandemic shut down that ended the 2019/2020 school year so abruptly, and forced us into remote learning. It was still very unique. It's definitely a school year our kids will always remember!

Dylan - 10th Grade

Pandemic School Year

After a full year of cyber school, Dylan headed back to our public high school this past school year. Last year was very challenging for Dylan. He spent the year trying to get his newly diagnosed ADHD under control, and struggled a bit with some of his classes. 

Just as I expected, they did NOT give him enough credits, and paired with the fact that he failed one class, he had to play catch up this year. He had a fully loaded schedule, and he has to take an elective over the Summer to get completely caught up. On the other hand, he is a year ahead in one class, so he won't have to take that class with the rest of his grade. Because he had a very busy schedule, there was no time for extracurriculars/sports, other than skateboarding. Needless to say, Dylan stepped up and worked REALLY hard this school year, with no medication, and we're proud of him!

As for the pandemic school year, Dylan stayed virus-free all year, but he did have to quarantine for two weeks in October, due to a classmate that sits next to him having the virus. The high school ended up shutting down in November, because they had too many cases, and stayed closed until the middle of January. It was full remote learning during that time period, but when they went back, the school remained open for the remainder of the school year. 


Alexandria - 8th Grade

Parenting Blog

Lexie had a challenging 8th grade year, but it ended really well. Maybe one day I will share in detail, but Lexie was bullied incessantly all year by a group of boys, simply for standing up for others. Lexie held her head high and stuck to her beliefs, and she has a great group of friends at school, so she stood up to the bullies every single time.

Lexie also stayed virus-free, and was never quarantined. Her school remained open until Thanksgiving Break. That's when the district made the decision to switch to remote learning during the holiday season, and have the kids return in person in January. The day after Christmas, Lexie witnessed a horrific accident while she was with her best friend's family, and the loss shook her. She was not mentally prepared to return to school when it reopened, so she stayed home for remote learning until the end of April. 

The last month of school was great for Lexie! She was still picked on every time she spoke up, but she was having so much fun that she didn't care. Lexie discovered her renewed love for chorus, and later musical theater, during a Cabaret Night that she performed in. It was her first time singing and dancing onstage, and she NAILED it. Seriously, she performed like she had been doing it for years! 

Although Lexie's high honor roll streak was ruined by the challenges of remote learning for 5 months, she ended the year with much better grades, and received an award for excellence in technology entrepreneurship. This was also the year that she figured out she wants to major in political science. I wouldn't be surprised if we see her run for office one day!

Pittsburgh Blog

middle school

Liliana - 4th Grade

Last Day of School

Lily absolutely LOVES school! She is effortlessly smart, she's filled with school spirit, and she has a lot of friends. This year, she had a new teacher, whom she absolutely adored. The teacher was young and fun, and even though there were so many changes, Lily thrived in the classroom with her teacher and classmates!

Lily stayed virus free all year, never had to quarantine, and was only at home during the 6 weeks of remote learning during the holiday season. She hated to miss school, and at 4 AM, after she broke her elbow, she was still insisting she was going to school in a few hours. (She didn't, and the cast is now off!)

Lily had a fun, memorable year, and had so many stories to tell each day. She somehow managed to make the weekly school district newsletter once a month. I know she's going to miss the elementary school next year, so the last day was very bittersweet for her. It was bittersweet for me, too. I drove Lily and Liam to and from school each day, and for 5th grade, Lily wants to ride the bus. It will just be me and Liam driving to and from school, and I'm going to miss her SO much! 

Lily ended the year with another round of straight A's, and was voted Most Feisty by her classmates. Neither of those two things surprise me one bit! It may have been a pandemic school year, but it didn't affect Lily at all!

Mom Blog

Liam - 2nd Grade

Down syndrome

Oh, my sweet Liam. I was so worried about him moving up to the elementary school, but he was finally in the same school as Lily! He loved walking into the building with her each morning, and seeing her in the halls throughout the day. I know he's really going to miss her next year, and wonder where she is! 

Liam matured so much this school year, and gained some more independence, which is GREAT! He split his time between general ed and learning support, and he was surrounded by a loving support system at school. Both of his teachers were wonderful, and the para who was with him most of the time was truly one of the best. I didn't have any reason to worry this year. 

Liam avoided the virus this year (my kids haven't been sick since February 2020), never had to quarantine, and because he has an IEP, he was allowed to remain in school for the 6 weeks everyone was learning at home. He got used to going to school with just a handful of students during that time, and he loved the attention! I think he was disappointed when everyone came back!

Liam had such a fun year, and I have lots of pictures from school to prove it. I'm so thankful he will have two more years at the elementary school before it's time for him to move to another building. I have no doubt he will thrive with his amazing support staff. Liam will be attending school for four days at the end of June, and four days at the end of July, which will be good for him. He gets a little bit of structure each month, but is still allowed to be a kid, and enjoy Summer Break!


Down syndrome blogs

The school year came to an end with an in person chorus concert, a Cabaret Night, finals, and field days. The last few weeks were filled with fun. And the last day arrived before we knew it. This school year was unique and challenging at times, but it was one of the flew by so quickly! 

On the last day, mom's partymobile picked up Lexie's best friend Lexi, stopped for slushies, then picked up a sobbing Lily, her crying best friend, Charlie, and an overwhelmed Liam after school. Beach balls were tossed around the car in an effort to cheer them up, and thankfully the slushies and a trip to the park to kick off Summer Break worked their magic! 

Farewell, 10th Grade! Goodbye, 8th Grade and Middle School! See you later, 4th Grade and Elementary School! Goodbye, 2nd Grade. And HELLO, SUMMER! (But seriously, cue mom's tears, because my kids are growing up TOO fast!)

Big Family Blog

The Lucky Few

Last day of school ideas

Now, we're officially caught up! The school year is over, and we are one week into Summer Break. We had a busy week of organizing and cleaning, but we still fit in some time to sleep in and hang out with friends. We are easing our way into Summer, but we have so many fun days ahead of us. I can't wait to spend those days with my favorite people, making happy memories! Happy Summer!

Large Family Life

Psst...he may not be in school, but let's not forget cutie Coen!

life with toddlers

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