“This is our time. Remember that we are all in this together.” On Friday I watched a video from Skyridge High School. It may have been the culmination of a week’s worth of emotions, but all of my feelings came out of my eyes. Dr. Perkins spoke the words we needed to hear. I appreciate him and the way he leads our community. Over the next few days, I would find so many of our teachers and principals doing the same thing — display after display of people reaching out to our kids. I am on a National Board that gives me a glimpse into the way education is happening right now across the country. I want you to know Alpine School District is doing an amazing job. Let’s review:
Thursday, 3/12 – It is announced that Monday and Tuesday will be minimal days to allow for teacher prep days in case we need to go to online learning. I was in DC; I didn’t know what was going on here at home. My kids were concerned that I wouldn’t make it home and wanted to know what would happen with school. All I could do was remind them their teachers love them and it would all be ok.
Friday 3/13 – Schools will move to online learning for two weeks. This will start on Wednesday. Plans are made to get devices to students at home, meals to students who need them, and communications to parents. Kids are confused and wondering why this is happening. Parents are concerned — we just became instant teachers, and most folks did not go to school for this. Teachers buckle down and plan how to reach their kids. The weekend is full of uncertainty for so many.
Monday 3/16 – My Facebook feed is full of teachers at school. They are learning and collaborating. They’re going to make things happen for our kids! ASD announces details for online learning. You can see the timeline on their website under District Plan Update. Emails come from teachers and principals with very clear instructions. My kids need to go to school to pick up textbooks, instruments and packets. They don’t know what to expect, but they follow instructions. This continues into Tuesday. After picking up a Chromebook for the youngest, my husband reports the process was well organized and went smoothly.
Thursday 3/19 – I received a phone call from the elementary school. The counselor was checking to make sure we had everything we needed and asked how our student was feeling. She reminded me of the resources available to us. This information also came via email. On this day I am reminded how grateful I am that ASD has placed such a high priority on social and emotional health. As a parent, I am more worried about their mental health than their academic progress right now.
Monday 3/23 – The communications keep coming — teachers emailing my kids to make sure they are ok. Last week they were contacting kids and parents to make sure everyone had devices and understood how to access assignments. Today they are checking to see if they survived week one and if they need anything. This has nothing to do with assignments and everything to do with their well-being. I find myself crying often. This is too much.
Lehi, what happened here is incredible. This is a story of how all the people came together to make things happen for all the kids. Last week I was on calls with the US Department of Education and another with the State Superintendent. At the Federal and State level, decisions were made, and waivers granted so kids could have what they need. Our District moved so quickly. Our teachers performed miracles. Our kids are going to make it.
Thank you, Mr. Bunker, for connecting with my student and inviting dialogue. Thank you, Mrs. Christiansen, for dropping off a note and treat that changed my kid’s day. Thank you, Mrs. Hacking, for making videos dancing with brooms so your students can still learn how to dance from a distance. Thank you, Mr. Summers, for figuring out how your bands can make music together from their homes. Thank you, Mrs. Parkinson, for texting and checking on your students every step of the way. Thank you, Miss Pyper, for reaching every student who had not logged in by day 2. Thank you, Mrs. Smith, for making choir work online. Sight reading, music theory and a virtual choir? Thank you to every teacher who has shifted their lesson plans on a dime and who are navigating this new model while also being a parent-teacher. I could write thank yous for days. All across the district, teachers are making magic and loving kids.
Dr. Perkins said it best, “We are tougher than we think we are. We can do more than we think we can.” He’s right; we’re going to make it because we’re doing it together — even if it’s six feet apart.
Stacy Bateman, Mother of Five