Dear UCEA Community,
It is my pleasure to offer our heartfelt congratulations to the UCEA Class of 2020!! Across our 108 institutions and hundreds of faculty, we graduated thousands of masters, certificate, and doctoral students. An impressive cohort of school, district, policy, and faculty leaders who will improve schools, classrooms, and educational systems with and for children and communities.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of our faculty who went far beyond their training and experience to create digital learning spaces in what amounts to a blink of an eye. Having taught online, I know the hours of preparation, contact, and maintenance it takes to build a course and relationships that invite participation and learning. It is no easy task and many went to extraordinary lengths to support their students while managing the needs of their own families and friends. To the students who finished and those who graduated, you are heroes!
For the Class of 2020, I know that no virtual commencement or video message can replace the feeling of walking across that stage in front of your loved ones or of being hooded by your chair after years of hard work. The ritual of graduation is as much a recognition of your accomplishments as it is a celebration of family and their love and support. It is an opportunity to show the world how grateful you are to all those who got you to this moment. It is an opportunity to show the world that, Sí se pudo!
As you take these next steps, steps into your first principalship or superintendency, your first policy advocacy or faculty role, know that you carry a little of us with you. Keep the toolbox that you have carefully built over the years handy. Tools that include your commitment to just schools and communities, critical thinking, research evidence, kindness and empathy, and the courage to ask the hard questions and accept the harder answers. These tools will serve you well no matter what road you choose.
We know that K20 education in 2020 and beyond will be different. Our schools and communities and programs will need you now more than ever. UCEA will need you as well. I hope that wherever your journey may take you, you will think of UCEA as your professional home. We believe in you, we know you will continue to do good, important work, and we know that the field will be a better place because you will rise in the face of this and future challenges.
I am inspired by your joy in the midst of this pandemic. I share that joy and hope to amplify it until it comes back tenfold for you, your families, and all whose lives you touch.
Muchas felicidades, UCEA Class of 2020!!
Mónica Byrne-Jiménez, UCEA Executive Director