As you begin to think about returning to School whether a Parent, Educator, or Student it is important to remember that we are heading into a new Century with many changes thanks to a variety of challenges faced this year by ALL. Change as you are aware is a process NOT an event. Therefore, to ensure that the future is bright and education does provide excellence then EVERYONE is going to need to be a part of the team. In doing so, the opportunity before us provides endless possibilities for creating many changes that people have wanted for a long time. At the same time, due to the Pandemic, there must be changes for safety and health reasons. These may not begin in a manner that makes everyone happy but if we persevere a solution will be found. Finally, the BLM protests have helped to move forward what should be, equity and equality for ALL. Thanks to our youth, in particular, the messages have been made clear. Our youth are showing they are strong, smart, capable, and taking responsibility for theIr future.
What do we know? One, how we do business at schools will be different this Fall in an effort to open. Many Districts will offer choices such as school online or in the classroom or both. There may be different forms of direct instruction. Hands-on, cooperative learning opportunities may be reduced and/or greatly modified. Activities such as eating lunch in groups, school field trips, assemblies, guest artists, partners sharing supplies, study buddies, Sports, etc. to name a few, will be modified if even part of the curriculum. Finally, for a school to have space that allows appropriate distance between students in the classroom means implementing programs such as 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 in the afternoon and/or using rooms such as the library/multipurpose/cafeteria for classrooms.
Meanwhile parents must go back to work or continue to support schooling at home. Students will need to attend child care programs, Boys and Girls Clubs and other safe places during the part of the school day that they aren’t in the regular classroom if unable to stay home with a parent.
Therefore, what do we need to do to ensure this first phase of returning to school and work succeeds?
We need to continue to use those same skills that we want our to develop: collaboration, communication, think critically, and creatively. Most importantly focus on the whole child by developing social-emotional skills, through trauma-informed classrooms that are culturally responsive so late we are repairing the whole person.
VIRTUALLY, HAND-IN-HAND, TOGETHER WE CAN DO THIS SAFELY!