Jun 04 2020

A Year-End Message from Mr. Terrill

It has been a tough end to the year, but in the face of everything, the Crosstown High family has been resilient!

Watch this short piece by the XQ Institute on what it means to "Take a Stand for Students" during this time. (All educators from Memphis on the video are from Crosstown High.)

Dear Crosstown High Family, 

Friday marked the end of the most unusual school year that we have ever experienced. When I met with students on Thursday, May 12, right before spring break to announce that we would be taking an extra week off, no one anticipated that we would be seeing each other for the last time this school year. In the last couple of weeks, I have walked the halls and peered into classrooms. It is an eerie sight, jackets on the backs of chairs, books and assignments stacked on tables, and a few student projects left unfinished, in various stages of completion. All speak to an abrupt and unexpected ending. At face value, it is a sad story of lost opportunity and grief but there is more to the story….

Early American Activist Thomas Paine once wrote: “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” In the weeks that followed a nationwide school shut down, our teachers, leaders, and students rose to the challenge. Without question, while other institutions struggled to rebound, Crosstown High -- through the active engagement of staff, students and their families -- flourished. Within days, we built the infrastructure for an entire platform of online learning. We worked with individual students who were limited by a lack of internet at home to make sure they were not adversely affected. We began holding live Advisory meetings via Zoom with strong participation rates. We built an equitable system of grading to make sure that students were not negatively impacted by our school shut-down. We hosted career exploration sessions with leaders in the community. We held one on one meetings with students, and continued building quality relationships. We gave opportunities and support to students who desired to explore topics of interest independently. Our teachers lent their voices and shared their experience to a national audience through writings, seminars, and interviews. 

We held book clubs and cooking classes. Our students won the Tennessee Spoken Word Championship, held Facebook Live Concerts, and created unique and inspiring video productions. We produced art, music, and poetry. (All of this and more will be on display on our Virtual Exhibition site, coming soon!) 

While I don’t want to downplay the tragedy that has befallen the world, I am extremely proud of the way Crosstown High has responded. Resilience is the key to overcoming adversity and our community has displayed a tremendous amount of courage and resilience. The innovations in technology, distance learning, and relationship building have become part of the fabric of who we are and who we will be.

Looking to the future, we are well positioned to thrive in the short and long term. Our dedicated staff is already working on plans for the 2020-21 school year and we are further along than we ever have been. Financially, we are in a strong position, and while we must be fiscally responsible through an uncertain time, we have made the necessary moves to remain a thriving community. We are a single teacher away from being fully staffed for next school year and are extremely excited about our recent hires. While our hope is to return to a normalized school day in August, we are also preparing a multitude of alternative scenarios. Keeping our students, staff, and the larger community safe is our top priority. In every case, we know that we will be successful.

I want to thank you all for your support in this difficult time. I fully recognize the additional burden that Covid-19 has created for you. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, ideas, or concerns.  

Sincerely,
Chris Terrill,
Executive Director
Crosstown High

P.S. When you've got a little time, watch our 2019-2020 Video Yearbook to see ALL that happened at Crosstown High this year!