Superintendent's Letter - March 12, 2021
Dock Parents and Students,
I trust you are enjoying the weather this week and a taste of spring! This season reminds us of hope as dormant plants begin to grow, flowers bloom, and the sunshine intensifies.
One year ago, you received a message from us that Governor Wolf requested schools in Montgomery County close for two weeks to help manage the spread of Coronavirus. We announced Dock Mennonite Academy would be closed during these two weeks and until Montgomery County schools were cleared to open again.
One year later we look back on a year that none of us expected. It has been a year of challenge and difficulty. As we reflect on the year, however, we are filled with gratitude. While many schools were not able to meet on campus, Dock was able to offer on-campus learning for this entire school year except for two weeks when all county schools were remote. Teachers were able to interact with students. Students connected with friends each day at school, helping to sustain social and emotional health. We recently asked some of our high school students to share reflections with students preparing to enter grade 9. Their responses affirm the benefits of being on campus and the impact that Dock faculty are having this year.
While our typical school and community events have been greatly impacted, we were able to hold safe, modified versions for most, and we will continue to adapt as needed for the rest of the year. Our Athletics program continued through all three seasons, while adjusting to keep everyone safe. Students showcased their gifts on the stage through a virtual performance of Little Women and through Arts Day. And while most chapels have been conducted virtually, in-person class discussions have allowed us to continue thinking about our faith and the call of Jesus for our lives.
We divided some elementary classes to accommodate additional students while keeping the groups small and spaced six feet apart. Our relatively small school and ability to implement mitigation measures such as spacing and mask wearing have not only helped limit the impact of Covid-19 but have resulted in far fewer common illnesses this winter.
This year we have continued to research, dream, and plan for new initiatives that will serve our students and families in the future. We look forward to an exciting (and more normal) year this fall and are welcoming prospective families to visit Dock. Thanks for helping us spread the word of upcoming open houses.
The foundation that has sustained us through this year is God’s faithfulness. Psalms 31:3 notes, “You are indeed my rock and my fortress.” With that foundation we move forward with confidence and hope. We know God is present at Dock and continues to bring great things out of these challenging days!
Dr. Conrad Swartzentruber
Read all of the Superintendent's Letters:
"I just want to take a moment to say thank you. It is obvious that Dock has spent time and prepared a plan that takes into account the many different thoughts, opinions, concerns, and frustrations of all families during this pandemic. While it is impossible to please everyone, it is clear the two options you have outlined have the biggest probability of satisfying the majority of your families. Providing two options is so refreshing and I realize this will be much extra work for your staff and teachers…thank you! This will be our oldest child's first year at the school, and we could not be more pleased with our choice of Dock!"
Dock Elementary Family
"I am confident in the decisions made by the administration, board and pandemic team. There are two options, on-campus learning or remote learning, for Early Childhood through 12th grade. Thank you, Dock administrators, for spending your summer planning for the fall. I know many families from other schools are concerned about the options available to them. Dock has a large facility with a smaller number of students, so safety, academics, and social interactions will not be compromised!"