With support from parents, staff and teachers, Arcohe Elementary School will open on Aug. 13 with the mandated remote education. Principal Troy Miller said his district has tried to retain some personal connections during the pandemic.
“We are holding two ‘Meet the Teacher’ events on Tuesday, Aug. 11 and Wednesday, Aug. 12 to allow families to come to school and meet our staff,” Miller said. “We will use this time to hand out student textbooks and work, technology, and work expectations. Since the teachers will not have the chance to form a connection with the students through in-person learning, we had to devise some kind of way to break down the virtual learning barrier and humanize the experience, especially for our youngest students. We are going to set up the teachers so they are in their classrooms and invite families to visit during this event to give them a glimpse of the classrooms and start to get to know the teacher.”
Miller said they would install plastic barriers between teachers and families to stay safe.
Challenges begin and end with the word “remote”, according to Miller.
“While we all understand the need to stay safe in this unprecedented time, not a single person on staff would choose to teach in this format,” Miller said. “We all got into this professional to have that connection with students and, while distance learning will allow us to meet the learning standards for our students, there is so much more to education than what is taught in class. Beyond the academic goals we have for our students, we know tending to the socio-emotional side to students is as equally important as growing children and teenagers. Our parents are doing a wonderful job at home, but we know school also plays a key role in the development of our students.”
Staying positive, for parents and students, is very important according to Miller who said he’s so thankful for all the supportive parents.
“I think there is a heightened sense of anxiety at home feeling like our students are behind or they are not doing enough to help our students get ahead,” Miller said. “That cannot be further from the truth. Anything our parents do at home will help our teachers. We encourage our families to read, play board games, cook together, talk about the price of food at the grocery stores or even talk about current events from the news. All of these activities, although seeming like small things, are so vital in getting our students to see the connection to what they are learning in real life situations. The better our students can make this connection, the more likely they will be to internalize the instruction we are providing at school because they start to see the value of learning.”
Just being at home to help with education when both parents work is another challenge faced by many.
Miller said, for daycare, they have partnered with Champions Daycare to provide daily childcare at the school during the crisis. If parents are in need of these services, they can contact the school or visit www.discoverchampions.com.