Students and Staff Are Missing Their Community
Educators and parents have quickly become familiar with new terms like “tele-conferencing” and “distance learning.” They have buried themselves in learning about all of the new platforms and resources that come along with virtual learning. It can all be a bit overwhelming!
In this scramble to make sure students are accessing curriculum, it’s easy to lose sight of the other pieces of the educational experience. Students are missing their community and school culture. This includes relationships such as the main office staff who greet students in the morning and the smiling cafeteria workers. Not to mention the custodian who gives high fives and the art teacher. And, maybe especially the students from different grade levels that used to play together at recess.
This also includes some of the traditions and daily activities that the school did as a community. Activities such as raising the flag, morning prayer, all school assemblies and the music teacher who played guitar on Fridays for the lower grades are all part to your school culture. These are the things that make each individual community special and unique. The things that allow students to feel part of a larger community that cares about them.
Keep Your School Culture Alive
You may have seen that a number of schools have tried to keep some of their key school community traditions alive despite not being physically together. There are several great examples that I have seen recently. One is a weekly video message that a principal sends out to the whole school community on Mondays to inspire his students. Another, is a librarian that reads a book aloud on YouTube for kindergartners each week. And yet another, is a synchronous morning prayer each morning with a teacher’s 1st grade class.
What’s the Composition of My School Culture?
As a school leader, when thinking about your own school community consider these questions:
- What are the core elements and traditions that make our community special?
They can be super simple like morning prayer or a school cheer.
- Who are the beloved members of my school community whose faces our students
have not seen since distance learning began?
This could be a custodian, an art teacher or a classroom aid.
- What are the resources available to our community to communicate effectively and keep the culture going?
Think Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Zoom, phone calls, text messaging, car parades, etc.
- How can parent leaders or the PTO be a part of the school community during distance learning?
- Are there ways for students to stay in touch with each other or ways to foster the interaction between students of different grades?
Who Can Help Me Answer These Questions?
FastDirect is happy to be of support for your school during these challenging new circumstances. Our new Distance Learning Initiative supports schools through leadership and staff trainings as well brainstorming sessions to think through and solve new challenges. Don’t hesitate to contact the Help Desk at 1(866)805-3116 if you have any questions.
You can also fill out this survey to give us a better sense of how we can support your site with distance learning.