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Teachers make Herculean effort to keep students in contact and engaged while apart

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Facebook is full of memes from parents with a whole new appreciation for what teachers do for their students, but many of them still have no idea how much work the teachers and staff at their school had to do to make it possible for them to homeschool their kids during the unprecedented times we are living in.

With no students in schools, many would expect the halls to be quiet, but not so at most schools. Like many schools in the state, CS Lewis Academy in Santaquin was a buzz of frantic activity throughout the classrooms, hallways, lunchroom, and office following Governor Herbert’s school closure announcement.

Teachers, aides, and other staff at CS Lewis Academy pulled together in a Herculean effort to create “Curriculum on the Go” buckets for every family to allow students to continue their studies as smoothly as possible.

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“Having to make that switch to homeschooling is a challenge. The school providing lessons, worksheets, virtual classrooms, and Teletherapy Services has made that transition so much easier. We really appreciate everything they did and continue to do,” said Lonny Woolbright, a CS Lewis Academy parent.

Many families rely heavily on school breakfasts and lunches, with those being the only meals of the day for some students.

At schools across the nation staffs are working to ensure that every student is as well cared for when they are quarantined as they would be if they were at the school.

When the staff at CS Lewis Academy realized that a large part of their families did not have a way to get anyone down to the school to pick up food boxes, they pulled additional staff together to provide for home delivery wherever needed.

Since students can’t come into their classrooms, teachers are sending their lessons to them, recording the lessons and utilizing the many online resources available to send those to their students. 

“I’m able to plan my lessons, record them, and post them to our Google Classroom. Then I am available during class time or for those who are unable to attend, I am in the classroom two nights a week to answer questions and help them understand concepts better,” said Meagan Warren, 5th grade teacher at CS Lewis Academy.

Regular posts on the school’s Facebook tell the students they are loved, they are missed, and they are still the lifeblood of the school, along with giving parents additional resources and encouragement for coping with the dramatic changes in their lives.

“Google Meets allows us to hold live classes with all of our students to work together on projects. Parents can go online and request a private one to one meeting to get additional help when needed. We’re also trying to bring fun in the classroom with Puppy Show-n-tell and other activities,” said Warren.

Students and staff participated in the Utah School Spirit Week Online, posting pictures and comments for Crazy Sock Day, What Ya Readin’? Day, and Terrific Teacher Day.

“One upside to the virtu+al platform is that we are not limited by locale on field trips and other activities. Usually we can only do field trips in Utah County. Virtually we are able to go much further. Our class will be going to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, a trip we could never take any other way,” said Warren.

But students aren’t the only ones cared for at CS Lewis. In order to keep in touch and support their teachers and staff, the administration started the Staff Bookclub which will now continue online. They have read Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and are now reading Teach Like A Pirate.

“We have the most incredible staff. Everyone pulled together to make the impossible possible. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing school,” said Diane Nelson, CS Lewis Academy Executive Director and Principal.

Amidst a whirlwind of social distancing, self-quarantining, and sheltering in place, knowing their school is behind them 100 percent no matter where they are is helping students feel a sense of security. Much like healthcare workers, our educators are the protective link between comfort and chaos for students. (Serve Daily submission.)

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The Rocky Mountain Power Foundation recently donated $40,000 to help Community Action Services and Food Bank assist residents with emergency food, shelter, and housing during the COVID-19

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