Teachers staying connected to families despite in-person restrictions
By Jamie Wiggan
Sto-Rox educators say they’re staying in close communication with students and parents despite resuming virtual-only instruction this semester.
Speaking at the school board’s Sept. 17 agenda meeting, administrators lauded teachers’ efforts to make themselves available to the range of needs thrown up by the pandemic.
“Every single person in our building is busting their guts to make sure this is done well,” said William Schleicher, primary center principal. “…They’ve done everything they can to reach out to parents and students.”
The administrators said teachers have made regular contact with parents through emails, phone calls and text messages to check in and make sure each household has the support needed.
At the upper elementary school, Principal Heather Johnston said teachers are holding online support sessions three times a day.
“We’re putting that out there for anyone who needs help with the online technology… and support them as well as we can,” she said.
Limited forms of in-person support are also available.
Branded as the “Lunch Bunch,” teachers from the primary and upper elementary schools are on-site during scheduled hours four days a week to meet with families and help with any academic or technical issues arising from virtual instruction.
At the high school level, Assistant Principal Sam Weaver said many students are independently visiting the school for one-on-one support.
“I will never tell a student he or she can’t come into our school to see their teacher,” Weaver said. “We’ve had students here every day.”
Despite the general success, administrators acknowledged some households have remained unreachable since the start of term.
Weaver said high school teachers had whittled that number down to 20-25, while Johnson said there about 15 unreachable students at the elementary school.
Commenting to the board, Michelle Spencer, who has three grandchildren in the district, echoed the administrator’s praise for the teachers.
“I go home and I really feel like [Kindergarten teacher] Miss Raymond is in my kitchen,” she said. “The teachers are excellent, they’re really putting their heart and soul into this.”