Schools everywhere are having to adapt to interacting in new ways with students while keeping them engaged and learning, as well as keeping students fed, and making sure all parents and caregivers are apprised of changes along the way.
The Greenfield Exempted Village School District is no exception, and the district is working to keep everyone involved and brains and bodies fed.
For the initial three weeks of the school closure, the district provided instructional packets for students to complete. The students have through this week to complete those assignments. At the present time, the district will not be collecting any work from students until May 4 at the earliest in order to support the safety of the staff, students and families.
The district will observe the originally scheduled spring break (April 9-14) as a time when families can take a break from instructional activities. On April 15, the district will release the details for the next steps in instruction in the Home Learning Plan section on the school website.
Teachers are working collaboratively to develop activities that focus on practice and review, project-based tasks, and social-emotional learning. Superintendent Quincey Gray said the district wants to be able to provide activities for students that are still engaging, but alleviate stress for families. Students will have some choice in activities. Activities will not all be based on internet access because not all families have accessibility.
The district’s food distribution program will continue through May 1. Distribution occurs on Tuesdays and Fridays at the following locations: Rainsboro Elementary, Buckskin Elementary, Highland County Community Action parking lot (old Pamida building), Mitchell Park and the Greenfield First Presbyterian Church.
People can still sign up for the food distribution. To do so, go to the Google form on the district’s website or on the Facebook page. For those who don’t want to participate in the food distribution any longer, they can remove their names by going to the Google form listed above.
The meals distributed through the program are for anyone 18 and younger. On Fridays, the First Presbyterian Church also provides blessing bags for the weekend.
“We are thankful for them and those who have contributed to their work,” Gray said of the blessing bags program. “We are also thankful for our staff members who work hard to make the food distribution program possible.”
Staff through the shutdown
The staff at Greenfield, Rainsboro and Buckskin elementaries, the middle school, and the high school have all been doing different things on social media to reach out to students like by posting videos and pictures. Teachers have also been finding other ways to connect with students such as with phone calls, letters and postcards.
Teachers are continuing their own professional learning through optional virtual professional development. Additionally, staff members are continuing to meet virtually and have participated in grade level meetings, teacher-based team meetings, and administrative team meetings.
If parents or students have questions about the work provided, teachers may be reached by email at any time. Email addresses for all staff members are: [email protected] Teachers may also be reached by calling the school and leaving a voicemail at their extension. A list of extensions may be found on the district website under the staff tab or by calling the building the student attends.
In March, the district donated wipes, hand sanitizer, and personal protection items to local medical offices, nursing homes, a pharmacy, and Highland County’s Emergency Operations Center. The items were previously donated to the district when the schools were closed for the flu.
Gray said that even though students and staff are no longer in the buildings, many aspects of the district continue to operate. Projects in development when the shutdown began, like the expansion of the gym lobby and locker rooms, however, are paused indefinitely.
Keeping spirits up
With things like spring sports and memorable senior moments like prom, baccalaureate and graduation postponed, the administration and staff are trying to keep spirits up.
A virtual spirit week was held on social media March 30 to April 3 and encouraged students to show how they are “Proud to be a Tiger.”
A virtual wellness week is being April 6-10 on social media and will include daily highlights on ways to stay mentally healthy during the school closure.
A Senior Highlight on Facebook has also begun and features seniors. Each post includes photos and the seniors’ plans for the future.
The administration has kept communication going through the school closure by way of regular all-calls from Gray, a COVID-19 information section on the district’s website, and use of the district’s social media accounts. Gray will continue to communicate through these avenues through the remainder of the school closure.
For information and updates, go to the district website at greenfield.k12.oh.us or go to the district’s Facebook page. The individual buildings also have Facebook pages maintained by staff members. Also, people may call the district’s central office at 937-981-2152 and leave a message.
“No district has experienced anything like this before and there are no right or wrong answers,” Gray said. “We just want to provide the best answers to our students, families and staff.”
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.