Newport Beach

Guest Letter

Thank you NMUSD teachers!

Let’s celebrate our teachers’ accomplishments including our students being back in class! As a NMUSD Trustee and current Board President, I would like to share thoughts from my perspective. This has been a challenging time for everyone – and I can assure you that our seven trustees have heard from a broad section of students, teachers, staff, parents and administrators on every topic relating to schools. 

Much of our Board’s responsibility over the past year has been working through guidelines and safety protocols handed down by the state with the ultimate goal to reopen our schools to in-person learning. Many people in our community, and even nationally, have watched news or read reports of the educational system gone awry by public school teachers’ unions expressing their demands of not returning to campus due to safety and other concerns. By listening to the rhetoric surrounding these stories, one can assume our local educational system is aligned with these national issues.

My reason for sharing these thoughts today is because we have witnessed a different story emerge in Newport-Mesa. Our teachers came back to campus in a hybrid model last fall when most schools in the state and across the U.S. remained on full-distance learning. 

Over the last few months as our COVID numbers have continued to move in the right direction and new guidelines have been shared by the state, we have been able to open up more on-campus activities. As of April 21st, all of our elementary school students returned to campus five full days a week and beginning April 26th all secondary schools came back in-person four full days per week (with one day remote learning). 

I share this information because it is an achievement that collectively everyone should take pride in. Personally, I have visited many of our schools over the past month and have observed the joy and excitement of teachers awaiting this return. Many teachers have expressed to us how thankful they are to have their students back in-person. While negotiations took place, our district and associations have worked together to welcome our students back on campus, which we all know is in their best interest, both for academic, social/emotional and mental health reasons. 

During this week of “Teacher Appreciation,” our entire Board wants to share our appreciation for every NMUSD teacher and staff member who has navigated the challenges of the past 14 months, always with commitment to their students. We appreciate each of them for their contributions and hope our entire community will share in our thanks to all of our teachers who have come through for the students this year. 

Karen Yelsey, President

Board of Education

Newport-Mesa Unified School District


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