While we would never classify our teachers, school administrators and allied professionals as first responders in a pandemic, they are all very much on the front lines with children—the most precious resource for our shared future.
We reached out to colleagues for anecdotes of connection, solidarity and inspiration. Here are a few reflections from our larger community…
School Administrators Share Stories of Distance Learning Success
"For students, we have hosted an optional book club, counselors have offered lunch sessions for students of particular grade levels, and we've continued to meet as a division community in our Monday Morning Meetings. Faculty have also reported arriving early in their Zoom classes to connect with students, encouraging students to book 1:1 time with teachers, and making use of the breakout room function to allow students to connect in smaller groups during classes. We're working on more social ways for students to connect following spring break." — Emily Dawe, Associate Director of Middle School, Windward
"We are proud that teachers feel that they are so well supported with educational technology and can really look at what they are doing differently. If teachers want to make changes, that’s possible. They are not tied to what they were doing in the classroom if that doesn’t work in the remote learning environment." — Jenn Spellman, Upper School Director, Wildwood
“I just read the school newspaper and was so happy to read that the response to synchronous learning is positive, and learning is happening, as well as social connection.” — Laura Hotchkiss, Associate Head of Academics & Director of Upper School, Marlborough
"Colleagues and I are doing a mashup of Beethoven’s Together; instruments include banjo, piano, guitar, cello, and violin! We will premier at our first Schoolwide Sing. Other initiatives include check-ins before launching into work through practices like "Highs, Lows, and Heroes,” "What's a small thing you miss about 'pre-pandemic life?'" or sharing a meaningful object from our home.” — Melinda Tsapatsaris, Head of School, Westland
Allied Professionals Share Positive Virtual Initiatives
“It's been amazing to work with our team and families during this time of challenge, innovation and transition. We've all needed to adopt a growth mindset! It's been exciting to see ways that we, our clients and families together have taken risks to learn how technology can help us accomplish therapy goals - with curiosity and dedication. I’ve been especially excited to see how online therapy and our Together! Programs give children, teens, adults and families a great space to connect for support, creativity, and skills during this public health crisis...” — Melissa Johnson, PhD, Institute for Girls’ Development
“Through the ChildNEXUS community newsletter, we have always curated information and resources for families, educators and allied professionals. During this COVID-19 crisis, we have been able to provide our community with resources to help them through this challenging time.” — Karen Wilson, Neuropsychologist
“We have found that when we incorporate activities that require active participation and engagement from the child on the other end, it is far more productive. Creating game boards and each having a copy has gone a long way for us!” — Leyla Ostin and Sarah Cacciato, Educational Consultants
“Some of my favorite virtual learning initiatives have been working with clients to have "College Essay Bootcamp" and teaching phonological processing to an 8-year-old who said “this is so fun” with a giggle.” — Mary O’Malley, Educational Therapist and Owner of Green Door Learning
Thank you to all those who shared thoughts for this effort. We applaud your unwavering commitment to our community’s children. Every life must matter in the best and worst of times, but we find ourselves thinking and dreaming about this generation now more than ever.
~Matthew Hayutin, M. Ed
Founder & Partner, Hayutin & Associates