One of the most extreme impacts the COVID-19 public health crisis has had is the drastic change in the way education is delivered. With little warning, educators from all of Wilton’s schools had to conceptualize, build, refine and implement distance e-learning plans in just a few weeks, rather than months or even years it would have required.

It was a gargantuan task, made even more complex by the need for teachers to learn new systems, revise teaching methods and approaches, and transform a profession that involves face-to-face, human interaction into something much more remote and mechanical.

Moreover, suddenly parents were forced to take on the role of active educators, often having to juggle their own now-work-from-home jobs with the new task of homeschooling their children. And on the flip side, many of Wilton’s teachers were doing the same in their own homes, juggling their jobs of educating our kids while managing their own.

It’s remarkable that what could have been absolute chaos has, for most people, settled into something that’s working, knock wood. It’s not perfect, but it has reinforced just how important a role teachers play for all of us.

GOOD Morning Wilton put out a call for thank-yous to teachers, to let them know how much they are appreciated and how grateful we are for their work and their dedication to our children. Here’s how Wilton responded:

Thank you so much for your care, support and effort to make everything work perfectly in this difficult time. We are so blessed to have you in Laura’s life.

—The Moraes Family.

Thank you to the entire 8Red team for all your hard work, availability and support!! Beyond grateful for everything you are doing.

—Sarah Philippon

To all the teachers and staff at Wilton Public Schools, we take our hats off to you! Much appreciated.

—The Ward Family

To our amazing teachers at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy,

The past few weeks have been like nothing we have ever experienced! Our Lady of Fatima Middle School Teachers—you found a way to maintain order amongst the chaos of COVID-19. Our virtual lessons not only helped us continue our studies but also brought us together in spirit. We love you and thank you for your dedication to your students!

—Love, Colin and the Kaiser Family

Dear Teachers, staff and administrators,

Thank you, thank you, thank you. In a time when so much is chaotic and unknown, you are a steady and calming presence. Even though you are going through the same things we are, your ability to be there for our children, youth and even parents is a phenomenal gift. Thank you so much!

—Shannon White

I would like to join the community thank you notes to our dear teachers and school staff because we can see all the effort that every day they are putting on helping our kids keep up with their learning skills, and also for keeping a daily structure much needed for the kids in the middle of this hard and disruptive situation that we are confronting.

The school staff is always looking for ways to weekly improve the eLearning which is so important, and is also considering our community‘s feedback!! Some teachers are even going the extra mile with their concerns and you can feel that they really want to be there for their students.

We really appreciate all you do, so thank you! We count on you!

—Maria Soledad Deidan

To the Board of Education, administration, teachers, paras and Student Services team—Thank you so much for all of your efforts. Our children continue to thrive during this challenging time–and much of it is because of you! ????

—The Sallese Family

A huge ‘Thank You’ from our family, to all of the administrators, teachers and staff of Wilton Schools. To adapt so quickly, and work so tirelessly so that our kids can continue to learn and grow is so appreciated. The juggle of balancing your own personal needs in your own families, with your time devoted to this new way of educating–our appreciation for all you do is beyond words. Thank you for your time, your energy and your love for all the kids of Wilton. Sending love and thanks from the Stein family.

—Julie, Sandy, Jake, Kathryn, and Grant

A huge thank you to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy for not missing a beat and making a seamless transition for our children! The amazing middle school teachers (Geri Galasso, Danielle Mancuso, Angelo Tsingerliotis, Rose Highland and Kathleen Rooney) have all jumped right into Google Meet classes, meeting multiple times a week with their classes and have provided a sense of normalcy for their students. The principal, Stanley Steele, has maintained the integrity and security that our school stands for, from starting our school days with morning prayers and morning announcements to his weekly principal’s newsletter, to providing such great support for our special teachers. We are all blessed and thankful to belong to such a wonderful community and proud to be a part of the Fatima Family! Thank you,

—Tracey Bonafide

To all our administrators and teachers,

It is with the utmost respect and appreciation that I include a thank you to you all, from our great leader, Kevin Smith, to every one of our teachers. You have put in so many hours continuing to learn this new eLearning for our kids. We thank you so much! You all show that you genuinely care about our children’s mental health and well being. As these eLearning weeks continue I realize that’s the most important. Each one of our kids will complete school, but their mental health is what’s important right now. By just having a zoom call with my high school kids to just see[ing] your face means so much.

Thank you all for a job that is never appreciated enough! Especially at a time like this. I wish you and all your families good health at this difficult time.

—Mrs. Yerrall

To Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy:

We want to sincerely thank Principal Steele, the amazing teachers and staff, and the clergy at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy in Wilton. This amazing team did not miss a beat delivering our children’s education via every medium available. Despite the short time frame, the Fatima team rapidly changed its delivery model and put in extraordinary effort to give every student a sense of normalcy during these very difficult times. We are so grateful that our children have been blessed with this amazing team! Thank you to the Our Lady of Fatima team!

—The Scimeca Family

We would like to send a huge “Thank you!” to all the teachers and staff of Cider Mill School and the entire Wilton School District. We have been amazed at how quickly they have adapted to this new way of teaching. Our 4th grader enjoys completing all her tasks and looks forward to interacting with her teachers and class on Google Hangouts. We are especially thankful for Mrs. Gillespie and Mrs. Link for going above and beyond in planning classes and for making themselves available whenever the kids need them. Thank you!

—The Soin Family

A huge thank you to the teachers and staff at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy for all that you do for the children and families! We are so blessed to have you all! Love,

—The McMahon Family

I am eternally grateful to Wilton schools (everyone and everything that includes). They have provided our children [with] an honest-to-goodness lifeline during these uncertain times. What is the saying for going above and beyond the above and beyond? That’s what the teachers have done from the beginning of quarantine. They are on task for the big stuff, and not forgetting the small stuff (my daughter’s homeroom teacher posted a Happy Birthday message for her on Google Classroom). I could go on and on. I can’t wait for all of us to say thank you in person soon enough.

—Cathy Ratcliffe

Dear Middlebrook Teachers,

We would like to thank you for the extra time and attention you have put into re-designing lessons at the last minute, thinking through student needs, and responding to parent and student emails over the past few weeks. Most importantly, however, we would like to thank you for reaching out to our kids to make sure they are OK–whether that has been through an email, a phone call, or a kind message on Google Classroom. We appreciate all of it! We recognize you have done this while taking care of families and personal responsibilities of your own. Thank you so much!

—Joe & Gretchen Mancuso

My high school’s motto was, “find a way or make one,” and this was truly what the Wilton teachers, administration and staff have done in 15 days. As a parent, I am so appreciative of the seamless transition for my children into schooling. Because of technology in our schools they are able to open their Chromebooks and navigate through a day of learning.  As a member of the Board of Ed I am so proud to be in the community and see the appreciation of so many other parents who have joined meetings and sent emails just to say, “Thank you to Wilton Public Schools for what they have done and are doing every day.”

—Mandi Schmauch

Although Mrs. Toris is not a public school teacher, she still deserves recognition. She is my son’s Pre-K teacher and she truly has gone above and beyond to keep these little ones engaged! Every weekday morning she does a morning meeting and a lesson for the children via video. My son happily runs to the window to give a detailed report of the weather outside. She does all of this through a virtual classroom that she created on Google docs. Worksheets and lessons are all uploaded, too. The other teacher, Mrs. McKiernan, reads the children a story daily, too.

The children are young, but what I can tell you is that the moment they hear the familiar voice of their teacher, it brings comfort and joy. They miss their peers, especially at this age, and lack a complete understanding of what is going on in this world. A sense of normalcy that these teachers are dedicated to providing is so greatly appreciated.

We are so thankful for our teachers. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share how truly wonderful they are! Best,

—Christine Stabler

Technology may have made learning accessible but nothing can replace the inspiration from a teacher. Thank you to Middlebrook 6th and 7th grade Yellow teachers! Your dedication and care for our children extends far beyond the screen. My children are so grateful they are still able to have school available to them–they are not only learning within their subjects but building their independence and resilience.

A special shout out to Ms. Querze and her team! Thank you for all you do!

—Selina Santos and Danny Lugo
Parents of Gael and Sofia Lugo

I feel so fortunate to be in the Wilton School District. My daughter is in 6th grade and most of her teachers have gone above and beyond in setting up assignments, communicating with the students and offering help. Her team base leader, Dr. Priest, calls in to check in with the students and make sure of their emotional well-being.

My son is in 11th grade and his teachers also have all the classes organized and ready to go. One of his teachers, Mr. Liptack, sends detailed emails to the parents as to what the students ought to be covering in a given week!

In summary, Wilton schools have risen to the challenge and I am very pleased with the e-learning set up for the students. As an educator myself, I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into converting on-ground classes to on-line platforms. Best,

—Kathy Dhanda

To all the teachers at Wilton High School and Middlebrook, thank you for adjusting so quickly to this new way of instructing and for being there for the kids academically and emotionally. We are so lucky to have all of you!

—The Byrnes Children
Lilly, 11th grade
Mikey, 9th grade
Abbey, 7th grade
Will, 6th grade

Our family has been so grateful and impressed with the hard work, dedication and care all of the faculty, staff, administrators and Board of Education are putting into helping our community’s children and families navigate this new world of e-learning. Two standouts for our family have been Middlebrook’s 7 Green team leader, Cindy Beck-Moore and Wilton High School math teacher Christopher Shpak.

Cindy Beck-Moore (team lead of 7Green) at Middlebrook has shown amazing support, patience and dedication. She uses clear, quick communication and is responsive to questions–whether from parents or kids. More importantly, she works hard to create spaces and opportunities to connect with kids in small groups; my daughter has especially liked her “cool check-ins” with the kids. And in case, she isn’t busy enough, she has added ad-hoc tech support to her job description, helping kids troubleshoot and solve issues.

Mr. Shpak stands out in his ability to keep the kids on track and learning, despite really difficult subject matter. He has been outstanding at adjusting to the changes in the AP Calc test procedures and re-calibrating his lessons to best suit these changes. He has also been adept at moving things to e-learning–transitioning what he does in class to the new format, condensing his teaching into videos and managing timing without sacrificing clarity. He also makes himself available for 1:1 chats/extra help as needed.

—Kim and Matt Hall

Thank you to Mr. Karlan for arranging for a loaner violin to be delivered to our home while my daughter’s violin (once my grandfather’s violin) is stuck at school. I’m listening to her practice as I write this. Thank you!

—Jessica S. Rutherford