Champaign students encouraged to get outside, shout their school spirit
Maintaining personal and community connections during the age of coronavirus is a challenge. But people are coming up with inventive ways to keep those relationships and brighten spirits. Even in Italy, a country that has been besieged by the virus, there are community sing-alongs from people separated along the balconies of their homes.
Champaign Unit 4 Schools are trying new things to keep their students engaged as well. On Sunday, superintendent Susan Zola sent suggestions to families for a community-wide spirit wave.
Zola said starting March 23, students are encouraged — along with their families, teachers, staff and administrators — to take a few minutes for the following:
At 6 p.m., put on school shirts, if possible, go outside on their front lawns, steps or parking lot and “loudly recite any/all of the following: Pledge of Allegiance; school pledge and/or school song; a family-selected song or pledge.”
Then, at 7:30 p.m., they are urged to go to the same place and “shine a flashlight or cellphone to the sky and loudly recite the following: Goodnight everyone at (school name) and in the Unit 4 school district. Sleep well. We can’t wait to see our friends and teachers again soon!”
This will be repeated daily until further notice.
Meanwhile, some Mahomet teachers took to the streets to let their students know they’re thinking of them. A line of cars included pre-k through second grade teachers from Middletown Prairie Elementary. The went on a 33 mile trip through town, weaving through neighborhoods over the course of a few hours. They honked, held signs, waved and rolled down windows to call hello to students on Saturday afternoon.
One parent says, “It meant the world to see the teachers show up so personally for the kids. In a week that has been filled with a lot of uncertainty and questions from our youngest kids, seeing their much loved teachers brought some familiarity and so much joy to their day. We get questions daily about when they’ll be returning to school because they miss their teachers so much. This was one very beautiful show of love and care that we will remember every single day until we can see them (and hug them!) again.”
Meanwhile, Lincoln Trail Elementary in Mahomet (grades 3-5) has put together a virtual school spirit week this week, March 23-27. Kids will take pictures reading their favorite book, hanging out with their pet, doing something creative, etc. and send post them in a thread on the school’s social media platforms. Principal Megan Hunter says the team of teachers has been “busy coming up with ways that we can continue to have students not only engage with each other but engaged with learning and still feel connected to school.” They are also continuing their daily “morning show” while school is out so that students’ birthdays can continue to be recognized and kids can submit quotes they find in books and such.
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