It is hard to believe that we are already in mid-August. It won’t be long until school starts again and we will begin another new school year in our country and at Lakeside. In our public schools we have been experiencing a shortage of staff and some schools that will not begin with a full staff. That can mean some significant changes and inadequacies in how schools are operated with some limitations on available classes for students.
We have yet to recover entirely from COVID-19. Not only has it had effect to families who have lost loved ones but it has created a rather extensive mental health crisis among students. I am aware of this reality since Lakeside provides programs to 45 school districts that are consistently asking for help with their students who need counseling and support, and for their staff who need to figure out how to manage so many students who are in crisis. School has become as much a clinic as it is an educational center.
We are fortunate at Lakeside to welcome approximately 70 new staff this week. They will receive a great deal of training and support for their new journey at Lakeside. Next week we will welcome back 350 staff who will also be in training and preparing for lots of challenges in our schools, our counseling programs to schools and our support of schools with our Neurologic training and staff which will help them become trauma-informed and more equipped to help students attend and perform in school successfully.
When I think of the thousands of students we will be processing with, I am encouraged that we will have another significant year of impact. Our work and mission is not an easy one since we deal with students who are struggling with many adversities and a variety of traumatic experiences.
We will have the opportunity to bring strategies, recovery, and hope to those students who are working through many losses and much despair. I would like to think that we are preventing further crisis in their lives by addressing these issues proactively.
I wish all school staff a good beginning in this 2022-23 school year. I appreciate the task that is before all of us who are helping students begin a new year. We are holding our children in our hands and providing them with the next steps to their future growth and development.
I can’t think of a more valuable mission as we provide them with the tools to work through their academic and personal goals in this upcoming year.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO