Guest Column: Hamtramck Public Schools Wishes Everyone a Safe and Enjoyable New Year


Jaleelah Ahmed is the Superintendent of Hamtramck Public Schools.

With the holiday season in full swing and as 2020 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to reflect together. We all know this has been a challenging chapter of life for everyone, but as I look back on the past year, I am proud of all the Hamtramck Public Schools community has accomplished together despite the circumstances.

Each and every individual in the HPS family contributes to our success and the success of the students we are so privileged to serve. Team members have worked tirelessly since March to develop, implement and maintain an entirely new system of education – a remarkable task that required the skills and dedication of thousands of people.

It is hard for those not in the educational field to understand all that was required this year, so I would like to recognize some of the amazing things that were done this year by our HPS.

  • Our teachers and paraprofessionals learned new technologies and instructional methods and adapted their curriculums to a virtual environment. They did so quickly and creatively, resulting in high levels of student engagement and learning.
  • Our administrative team established a framework for virtual learning, and provided critical support and guidance to their students, teachers and families throughout the year.
  • Our food services team prepared and distributed more than 360,000 meals for our HPS families this year. They were supported by our transportation staff, who adapted quickly to their new roles in the district.
  • Our maintenance, custodial, food services and security staff continued to report to the buildings throughout the year to keep onsite staff safe and healthy and ensure that our schools were ready to welcome our students back.
  • Our Parent and Family liaisons regularly connected with our families at all hours of the day and night to provide the support and resources needed to keep them safe, healthy and engaged in learning.
  • Our IT department supported our teachers, students and families as they entered the virtual environment, providing support and troubleshooting to the devices that are now so critical to learning.
  • Our office staff at both building and district levels worked closely across departments to make sure HPS students and families had all they needed to navigate their “new normal.”

These are just some of the departments and teams that have make an impact on our success in 2020. By uniting in our mission to provide continuity of learning in a challenging time, we have been more successful than we had hoped.

I understand that this holiday season feels different than in years past. A lot of us will be celebrating apart from family and friends, and we all will be spending more time at home. While this is certainly not how any of us wanted the end of the year to pan out, I hope everyone is able to still take this time to rest and recharge.

As we enter the new year, I feel a sense of optimism. While we all must remain diligent in our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, new updates surrounding vaccine distribution provide great reason for hope.

Regardless of whether or not we are in-person or virtual, I am confident that our path forward will be smooth because of the strength of our community. Thank you all for your continued patience and ability to adapt quickly during these difficult times. I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday break, and I look forward to reconnecting in the new year.