North Country Supervisory Union


Superintendent John A. Castle

2021 Annual Report

There is no question that our COVID context over the past year has dominated much of our world as educators. Add in the social unrest from last summer, a turbulent Presidential election and insurrection on the capital and it is fair to say things have not been “normal.”

I believe we all welcome some level of normalcy in our lives, especially with regard to the pandemic. The reality is our lives have changed. As a history teacher, one of the themes that I always weaved into my curriculum was that of the significance of watershed events. This is a theme that resonates with students as they can relate to significant moments in their personal lives. A watershed in the natural world is a geological dividing line. A historical watershed is an event that marks a clear before or after. The pandemic of the last year serves as a watershed event for our world and likely the field of education itself.

Hopefully, we can look forward to no longer needing to wear masks, constant hand washing or sanitizing, the limitations of physical distancing and of course zoom meetings. However, there are practices that we will maintain because we’ve learned they have value. The necessary use of online applications and virtual tools has accelerated transformations in teaching and learning. We have also increased appreciation for more personalized learning and the importance of partnerships with parents in supporting each child’s education.

The NCSU Design for Learning continues to guide our efforts as we begin to emerge from the receding storm of COVID-19. Our Work and Learning Plan, established in the Fall of 2018, still serves as the strategic steps for actualizing our Design for Learning. Although much of our work and learning was interrupted since last spring, it remains an aspirational call for change in the way we approach education. We cannot be satisfied to simply return to the way things were. We must become reengaged in our work and learning to move forward with the way things need to be.

Our commitment to Character, Competence, Creativity and Community helped us to endure this turbulent time in education and what likely will be considered such in history. I am hopeful that we have entered a new era that will bring health, prosperity, social justice, renewed strengthening of our democracy and a truly progressive shift in education. I look forward to our continued work and learning together.