When the Scotts Valley Unified School District moved to remote learning in March because of the shelter in place orders, the teachers and staff immediately stepped up. They earnestly worked to provide all students with necessary materials and access to technology, and sustain academic and emotional support, even from a distance. While considering the stress and impact of COVID-19 on students, staff, and families, teachers have sought to engage students in a positive way, setting up online conferences, office hours, lessons, lectures, and authentic classroom interactions. Counselors are available to support students and their families with the stresses of sheltering in place and learning at home. Teachers and students alike are creatively tackling curriculum and finding ways to stay connected and interact.
Students from student government, along with Scotts Valley High School staff, created a message that was posted on the school website and Instagram, spelling out encouraging messages. Ellie Newberg, high school senior, talked about the impact of the message. “People have really liked it! During this time, it’s gotten difficult to not see our teachers that have made such an amazing impact on our lives and have lifted students out of some really hard times. Even just a message from them really made students happy and gave them a sense of comfort.” Last week the parent club distributed signs on lawns of graduating seniors, giving them cheer and recognizing all of their accomplishments!
Scotts Valley Middle School's Assistant Principal, Joe Allen, relayed, “We have some things in the works right now to try and maintain our connection with kids. We are working on having members of our student council record short videos about information students would feel is important, and our staff is putting together a video to send out to students, letting them know we miss them. We are also continuing our reward system by sending out virtual ICARE tickets to students that have been nominated by our staff for continual engagement and hard work.”
Brook Knoll Elementary School Principal, Joshua Wahl, one benefit of having fewer folks on the campus is that BK can finish up a needed project. “With the help of generous parent donations and support, we have put in a brand new field! It consists of irrigation trenches, a track, and a grassy area that students can play on when they return,” Mr. Wahl said. He also facilitated a gratitude survey, giving parents and students the opportunity to acknowledge teachers and staff for the ways that they are helping students learn.
Mackenzie Keller, Vine Hill Elementary School Counselor, says, “We miss all of the kids so much, but we are making the most of our online time together and finding creative ways to make it fun.” For instance, plans are in place for a virtual talent show, and students are busy practicing their many talents! Teachers are sending notes home to students and find time for appreciation and acknowledgement during their online class meetings. They are continuing their Friday Flag ceremony, leading the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Vine Hill School Song.
The Superintendent, Tanya Krause, and I, have joined in supporting students from afar. Every Friday, we have Fun Friday Story time, reading a story to the younger students. We choose a theme, dress up, and have fun! One Friday, we read about insects and wore purple spider wings. Another week students dressed up as their favorite hero’s. Students came as firemen, super heroes, and even their parents!
Although sheltering in place can be challenging, Scotts Valley Unified School District is working diligently to support students and families!