Convocation 2020

First ever virtual back-to-school convocation held
Posted on 09/01/2020
Superintendent Dr. Scott Dill

The Poplar Bluff School District’s annual back-to-school convocation, a tradition in which the entire staff normally assembles in advance of the new year, was held virtually for the first time on Monday, Aug. 17.

R-I Superintendent Dr. Scott Dill served as the guest speaker, delivering the state-of-the-school address, focusing on the district’s return to learn.

“Educationally, socially, emotionally, behaviorally – every way you can be needed by kids is how you’re needed right now,” Dill told personnel from his office via Google Meet.

Dill wrapped up his pep talk by sharing the “Parable of the Prodigal Son,” for its historical context, he noted. A young man leaves his father’s estate with an advance on his inheritance in an attempt to carve his own path, while his older brother stays home and continues to work on their field, Dill summarized. When the young man fails, he returns home to be greeted with open arms by his dad.

Dill admitted that he has identified with both children at different times in his life: the young man who tried to make his way in the world, and the resentful sibling who stayed the course. But right now, he said, he relates mostly with the father figure, who accepts his children exactly as they are.

"On Monday morning, all of our kids are coming back and we need to rush to meet them where they're at," Dill stated. "We have an obligation bigger this year than at any time in our career."

School did not resume following spring break in mid-March, starting with a district-mandated ‘wellness break’ in response to the pandemic, followed by the governor’s stay-at-home order, extending the closure through the end of the school year in late May. Meanwhile summer school was postponed from June to July, with a reduction in class size to allow for added distancing.

Over the course of the 100 days that ensued without school being held, nearly half a million free meals were served to children by the team at Chartwells and partnering organizations, Dill shared, giving food service personnel an affirmation for helping to meet the base needs of the community.

Maintaining tradition, more than a dozen members of the faith-based community met in the board room prior to the superintendent’s speech to pray over the school system.

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Cutline: Superintendent Dr. Scott Dill leads the back-to-school convocation from his office setup in the Administrative Building.

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