Pandemic Positives by Julie Hartley, 2nd grade teacher
Things can only get better, right? As I’m sure most of us are feeling, I sure am looking forward to what 2021 will bring, and I hope that before too long, life may begin to return to “normal.” As I reflect on 2020 and the pandemic, I realize that it wasn’t all bad. We made it through some really tough challenges and have learned a lot along the way.
It seems incredible to think about where we started and all the changes that have happened over the past 10 months. When schools were shut down abruptly last March, we at Hope had to pivot quickly to be prepared for full remote learning for the remainder of the school year. The learning curve was steep (and felt overwhelming in the beginning) but we buckled down and figured out what needed to be done to teach virtually. Then when we returned to school in September, it meant another major growth spurt as we learned how to manage live streaming our instruction while at the same time meeting the needs of in-person students. Managing assignments online was another challenge, requiring us to learn new websites and software programs. Now, as we begin the process of getting vaccinations and hopefully consequently see a decrease in community virus spread, the way the rest of this school year looks remains unknown.
However, even with all that we don’t know and all of the questions yet to be answered, I do have some truths that have emerged for me. Here are some observations and takeaways that I am grateful to be reminded of:
- Kids are incredibly resilient and adaptable. Prior to opening, many people worried about how the kids in class would handle wearing masks all day and staying 6 feet apart from each other. Yet it turned out that kids quickly got used to the new way to interact at school and for the most part are doing really well with it. There were also concerns that remote kids may not be able to stay focused if they had to learn from home and be on Zoom all day, but my remote learners have shown remarkable stamina. Although the circumstances are not ideal, both groups are learning and thriving and adapting to the new normal better than might be expected.
- Teacher collaboration and creativity is at an all-time high. It has been powerful to see teachers come together and help each other navigate this new territory. There has been a tremendous sense of community which has been invaluable to making it all a success. There were many times over the past year that I have mentored other teacher friends who are in the public school system and were starting the remote learning process after we had already paved the way last spring. And on the flip side, I am eternally grateful for my colleagues at Hope and others in the global teaching community who are quick to offer advice and support. The pandemic has forced teachers to become more resilient, creative and collaborative and I think we will emerge as stronger and more effective educators as a result.
- New technology enables us to connect and communicate in amazing ways. A year ago, I never would have imagined that we would have the capability to navigate multiple cameras, microphones and video conferencing all as part of a regular day of teaching. Students now have the ability to learn from anywhere, and can complete and submit assignments online even as young as preschool. Being able to hold parent-teacher conferences virtually was actually more efficient in some ways, and I had many people comment that it was very convenient and less of a hassle than taking time off work or battling commuter traffic. Having 1:1 iPads for our students has meant a wealth of educational apps at their fingertips, and they are able to demonstrate their learning in many creative ways (through video, drawing, audio, etc.) other than traditional paper-pencil tasks.
- The partnership between parents and teachers is more crucial than ever. With kids learning from home either full-time or part-time, parents and caregivers have had extra pressure put on them to help their children with online learning. We are blessed to have families that are fully supportive and do what is needed to help their kids succeed. I know that in many other schools this is not necessarily the case, and it makes a world of difference. I am also grateful for the trust granted to us to make the tough decisions needed to keep our students and staff safe and our school doors open.
While I am anxious to say good riddance to COVID-19 forever, I hope that some of these positives will stick with us. With increased teacher collaboration, advanced technology, and strengthened parent partnerships, I am confident we can tackle whatever may come our way in the future. But then again, here’s hoping 2021 will give us all a bit of a breather before throwing us any more curveballs!
Calendar of Events – Click Here
Week of Jan. 19: PS-Grade 4 in Person, Grades 5-8 Hybrid
Wed. 1/20: 8:40 AM Online Chapel led by Mrs. Okabayashi, Principal
Jan. 24-30: Lutheran Schools Week / Spirit Week
Wed. 1/27: 8:40 AM Online Chapel led by Mrs. Neafcy, Kindergarten Teacher
Re-Enrollment for Fall 2021-2022
Re-enrollment runs through January 26 for currently enrolled families. We have mailed all families their re-enrollment packet with information on enrolling through K12online. All students will receive a new student number and access key. If you have any questions about re-enrollment, please email or call the school office or admissions director at email@example.com.
On February 1, 2021 we will begin processing new applications from the community.
Hope Spirit Dress-up Days – January 25 – 29
Join us as we celebrate the rich heritage of Lutheran Schools during Lutheran Schools week next week! Students are invited to participate in spirit days every day; students not choosing to dress up should be in uniform as usual.
Monday Jan 25 – Pajama Day
Tuesday Jan 26 – Zoom Meeting Day – wear a uniform top or other dressy top accompanied by pajama pants, sweatpants, that type of thing
Wednesday Jan 27 – Wacky Tacky Day
Thursday Jan 28 – Sports Team Day – wear sportswear from your favorite college or professional team, or your own sports team
Friday Jan 29 – School Spirit Day – show us your Hope Eagle blue and gold pride
Rainbow Parrot Art offers fun and engaging online art classes for kids. Each week, kids have the opportunity to create a new, super fun project and share with the group. This space has a collaborative feel. Kids are encouraged to share their ideas and get inspiration from each other. There are (optional) opportunities for fun breaks, games, movement activities, social connection, listening to music, dance, costume parties, and snack time. Join a free trial class or sign up for a 6-week session. Visit www.rainbowparrotart.com
Church News & Activities – Click Here
Hope 101 class
Have you thought about joining Hope Church? The next Hope 101 class will begin on Monday, February 1st, 7:00-8:30 PM on Zoom. If you can make this first meeting, please sign up at the link below. At the first meeting, Pastor Peter will discuss with you as a group whether you want to meet on Monday evenings or for a longer time on a weekend or a mixture of both. Click Here to register to participate in the first class on Monday, February 1st.