Educators Share Innovations in Time of COVID
Katherine Abbey ’10/MAT ’11
Woodway Elementary School
Fort Worth, Texas
When leaving school in March 2020, I had an ongoing challenge to get books into my students’ hands—and back out of them, to be honest. I wanted to encourage them to keep reading when access to books is limited, and to assist students and parents with getting technology and accessing their virtual classrooms. I have assisted my campus with distributing technology, have recorded videos of myself reading, and have acted as a liaison between campus leadership and teachers trying to deliver instruction from their homes.
Laura Brown ’07/MAT ’08
Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy
Most educators are involved in the profession due to the impact we can have on our students’ lives and the relationships we build in the process. This school year, we have tried to welcome in a new group of students and work hard to build all those essential relationships. Students need to know we care and that they can trust us, before they learn. It’s hard to do from the other side of a screen, with a mask on, and as they sit in classrooms with partitions far away from peers and normalcy. We are working to find solutions and persevere, so that we all come out stronger on the other side.
Kierra Gaither ’18/MAT ’19
8th Grade Science Teacher/Coach
Connally Junior High
Elm Mott, Texas
This school year has definitely been one like no other! It has been difficult to really get in the swing of things and find a groove for the kids, as we had to start virtually, come in-person, and then switch back to virtual learning. I’ve tried to create engaging lessons that are easily transferable from virtual to in-person, such as interactive quizzes, digital one-pagers, and group video recordings. I think we’re all trying to do the best we can while navigating these challenging times. Being flexible for both the teachers and students has been a major theme for this crazy school year.
Laurie James, BSN, RN, NCSN ’89
Special Education Nurse Liaison
Grand Prairie ISD
Grand Prairie, Texas
UTILIZING THE OUTDOORS
My previous work with tuberculosis management and HIV prevention gave me a solid background for dealing with the current pandemic. We left school for spring break in March and didn’t return in person. In May, we had 30 almost-3-year-olds whom we were legally required to screen and assess for district-funded preschool. As the only Special Education Nurse in the district, I created a “contactless” vision and hearing model, using functional screening on the portico outside the preschool where I work, screening most kids in their car seats. We assessed 26 students by summer’s end. The contactless screening idea was so successful that I continued to utilize it through September.
Clay Scarborough ’99/MAT ’01
Navarro High School
Our administration team at Navarro High has focused on making sure two things are happening. First, we are making the building and our procedures as safe as possible. In short, let’s control what we can control in the building and prevent COVID-19 from spreading. After we are as safe as we can be, then secondly, we are focusing so that teaching and learning happen the best ways they can whether the student is in the classroom or online. We have made it this far. We hope we can make it the whole year.