Despite DACA announcement, we continue to focus on learning for all students

Every week, I visit schools and get to see our students in action. The teenagers soon to be venturing out into the world, the kindergarteners so excited or, in some cases, overwhelmed with this new place called school, the middle school students just starting to make sense of the world and, therefore, believing they are more mature than we give them credit for.

I have the great privilege and responsibility of making sure our very diverse population of students is in a safe environment of educational excellence and acceptance. But sometimes, the world around us gets in the way.

Last week, when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals announcement was made, I intentionally went out to schools and checked to see if there were kids, families or staff in need of support. What I found was a deep commitment and dedication to our students and a continued focus on learning.

I saw educators and support staff calmly walking beside our kids whom the news directly impacted and those who may have been worrying about friends or neighbors and delivering the message, "Keep walking and stay focused on your learning. We are here for you if you need us."

I commend our staff for continuing to focus on kids and learning, even when the world around us presents us with difficulties that impact our classrooms. Last week's DACA announcement created stress for some of our students, the Dreamers who worried about their future, their classmates who wondered what it all meant for their friends and the staff who wondered how to help.

We as a school district pulled together and continued to teach and care for all of our kids, making every attempt to deliver the message, "There will always be a place for you here in school." We invite our community to continue to encourage our kids to keep focused on their learning and stay hopeful that a positive solution will be found. Until that time, we will continue to teach, acknowledge the uniqueness of all of our students and let them know we believe in them and their resilience.

Maggie Lopez, Ph.D., is the interim superintendent of Eagle County Schools. She can be reached at margarita.lopez@eagleschools.net.