Stepping up to care for students and community - Part 1
Navigating this new, temporary, normal can be difficult. Despite schools being closed, our students, their families and our communities still need to be served. Schools across the state are taking up the charge. The work looks different, but our members are stepping up. Here are a few of those stories.
In Oakesdale, WA. the Nighthawks have found creative ways to ensure their students' needs are met during school closures. Earlier this week, working as a team, they successfully delivered meals and homework to students and their families. Oaksdale staff also transplanted plants for FFA and collaborated to ensure students could continue learning during our time away from our school buildings.
Former teacher, paraeducator and WEA-Retired member Marilyn Meyer often volunteers at her local elementary school in West Seattle. This week, she visited her neighborhood playground and rode her bike up and down the street to tell parents where they could pick up free lunches for their students. She has also collected books for a middle school teacher to give to students and dropped off a stack of books with a family who has nine children in Seattle Public Schools.
Highline Education Association members Shawn Kelly and Shoshanna Cohen were at White Center Heights Elementary mid-day today to let kids choose books to take home from a little “makeshift” library they have created. Kelly, a speech language pathologist, and Cohen, a K-5 STEAM specialist also picked up building kit donations from Home Depot so their students could build their own binoculars at home. “I knew Shoshanna was thinking the same thing I was the day after schools closed in terms of how are we going to help these kids,” Kelly says.
Vancouver EA member, Mason Quiroz, a 6th grade math teacher at Alki, is creating YouTube lessons for his students until they are all back in class together. "By this time of year we have hopefully established strong relationshops with our students. They are used to our voices, our faces. It's more than just academic learning. It's letting our students know that even though we aren't in class, we are still together. We still care and to us you're more than a student," says Quiroz. You can view his lessons on his YouTube channel, Mr Qs Message.
Seattle Education Association educator Erin Munavu and other colleagues are using their phones to create clips of themselves reading aloud. Munavu is doing this while caring for her own two elementary aged children. "I wanted to send my students a connection to school and the classroom, since their daily lives have been completely uprooted. If I'm missing them, I'm guessing they are missing me (at least a little!). I'm hopeful that all students can access my video and I'm planning to reach out to those I haven't heard from yet to see if they need communication from me in a method that is not email."
She says they are taking the quarantine seriously because the faster everyone does that, the better the chances are for not overwhelming hospitals and for saving lives.
Spokane EA members, like educator Amanda Mills and her colleagues at Hamblen Elementary and Ferris High School, are hard at work creating packets for their students to take home during the closure. Along with a focus on ensuring we continue to meet students' basic needs, also foremost on educators minds is deeper learning and enrichment by keeping students enagaged and excited about learning.
In West Seattle, nutrition service workers at Sealth High School spent their St. Patrick's Day making and handing out grab-and-go lunches for all students. There were plenty of bags and plenty of food to ensure our students' basic needs are met.
Seattle Education Association school nurse Jessica Ravitsky adjusts in the new, temporary kind of normal. Recently, she took her fifth-grade son and sevveral othe neighborhood thirs- through sixth-grade students to Lincoln Park where they spent hours finding, drawing and identifying plants. Read more
What is happening in your areas of the state? Send us pictures and anecdotes to WEA@washingtonea.org, so we can share your hard work and dedication to Washington students and their families through these difficult times.