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Community Update from Dr. Peter J. Aiken, Superintendent of Schools - April 30, 2021


Good day Baron Nation! I hope this email finds you well. Last Friday in April. My dad loved John Wayne. One of his favorite movies was “The Longest Day.” If we were to make a movie of the 20-21 school year, I think it would be titled “The Longest Year.” (Although I am not sure it would be a box office smash😊)


  • Learning Modes- After reviewing all of the survey feedback from learners, facilitators, and parents, MCSD will offer the following learning models for the 2021-22 school year. (We are in April…while I feel strongly this is what the modes will look like…there is always a chance something could change between now and the end of August. If it does, we will communicate same).

At the Elementary level:

  1. Regular, single grade classrooms five days per week
  2. Multiage classes of first grade/second grade or third grade/fourth grade five days per week
  3. Fully Online, Asynchronous taught by Manheim Central Facilitators using Manheim Central Curriculum

At the Middle School:

  1. Face-to-face instruction for grades 5-8 five days per week
  2. Fully Online, Asynchronous taught by Manheim Central Facilitators using Manheim Central Curriculum

At the High School:

  1. At the High School: Face-to-face instruction for grades 9-12 five days per week.
  2. Fully Online, Asynchronous taught by Manheim Central Facilitators using Manheim Central Curriculum
  • High School Renovation- As you may be aware, this past Monday, the Board approved the HS Renovation. The High School Renovation will begin this summer. We will have a parent/community information session shortly after school lets out. More details will be forthcoming shortly.

I write a weekly Monday Motivational Memo to our Leadership Team. I believe the message I shared this past Monday resonates to a broader audience…and bears repeating. 

As I shared last month, and I believe it still rings true, everyone is tired. Even more so than last month. Yet, everyone reading this email is a difference maker- whether it be for our kids- our classrooms, or our community. In some way, shape, or form, you are leading.

As crazy as it sounds, one of my favorite leadership books of all-time is The Giving Tree. Inherently, I believe true leadership is about servant leadership. No better example of servant leadership than the Tree. 😊

As I thought about today’s message, I recalled perhaps one of my all-time favorite memories as a teacher. And I believe it directly relates to servant leadership. 

I began my teaching career in Norfolk City Schools in Norfolk, VA. To say it was a stressful year would be a gross understatement. 

One particular day, my frustration and irritation had reached a tipping point. 

One of my all-time favorite students, and from one of the poorest families I had ever known, sensed my dismay. She came up to me, and a held a closed fist in front of me. 

I asked her to show me what was in her hand. She opened her clenched fist to reveal two wrapped cubes. 

I asked, “Is that beef bouillon?”

She replied, “No, it’s chicken bouillon. And it’s very good. I think it may help you to have a better day.” *

She had nothing of worldly value to give to me. Yet out of her nothingness, she completely changed my day, my perspective, and my leadership worldview. 

You may think you have nothing left to give this year. Like the Tree. Like my student. You do. If nothing else, your presence is enough to make a difference. Show up…and serve. Your legacy is being built- moment by moment…and day by day. 

A little over one month to go. Let’s link arms. And Finish Strong- together.

I hope you have a great weekend- I am here if you need anything. Always, Proud to be a Baron- pja

*I kept the chicken bouillon cubes in my desk drawer for years as a great reminder of her impact. Reluctantly, when the smell became too pungent for a learning environment, I had to discard them. 😊

*I dialed it back this month…Give a Little Bit from Supertramp (circa 1977).