LIMA — Adapting to a pandemic was one of the greatest challenges Lima schools has faced in Superintendent Jill Ackerman’s career. But the school district’s successful return to the classroom last fall was one highlight from a disruptive year Ackerman could point to as Lima schools gets ready to mark Public School Week, an annual tradition for Lima schools to promote public education.
“If there was ever a year to celebrate our public schools, and specifically the Lima City Schools, this is the year,” Ackerman said on Wednesday.
It was a challenging year: Lima schools quickly adopted a virtual curriculum and rolled out a meal distribution process last spring after schools were closed, first for several weeks, then for the remainder of the school year.
The summer months were spent debating whether it was safe for students to return to the classroom, prompting administrators from Allen County schools to coordinate a county-wide plan to resume in-person instruction with the option of virtual learning for parents who were not ready for their students to return.
Seven months later, athletics and extracurricular programs have returned. And Lima schools is looking to bring back the milestone events students look forward to: prom, field trips, graduation.
To Ackerman, the pandemic has underscored the importance of in-person education as well as the non-academic resources public schools provide for students, from hot meals to health care and counseling.
“While it was difficult,” she said, “those of us who love and support public education never doubted. This is what we do: we tackle every problem that comes our way, whether directly related to school or not. We reach every child. We meet all of their needs, no matter who they are or what those needs are. And then we reach a little further and make sure that their families are OK.”
While there will be no district-wide open house for Public Schools Week this year, Lima schools is planning virtual trivia and special programming next week so that parents and community members can watch along from home.
Students will perform service projects throughout the community as well, cleaning neighborhoods and volunteering with the West Ohio Food Bank.