The Kindergarten staff at South Street Elementary “delivers” to students in so many ways. Naturally, door-to-door deliveries to students during the current school shut-downs just made sense to this dedicated team of educators. Through careful coordination, the Kindergarten staff delivered goodie bags and marigold plants to their students last Friday, May 22, while maintaining a safe social distance.
Changemaker Meghan Clancy-Brough
Meghan Clancy-Brough, Special Education KindergartenTeacher at South Street Elementary School, is a Changemaker. She is attending Changemaking Professional Development at Mount Wachusett Community College. She and her team shared this wonderful Changemaking story with me in a Zoom call recently. Through these special deliveries, the Kindergarten staff were able to see their students and share some positivity during this crazy time of school shutdowns and social distancing.
Changemaker Cindy Clark
According to Kindergarten teacher Cindy Clark, she was able to see 15 out of the 22 students in her classroom. The marigold plants are part of the students’ plant unit, and they will be able to watch those plants grow from their homes. She said that arrangements for their drop-offs and short visits were made by phone calls, Google Meets and announced in their Google Classroom. Cindy has also taken Changemaking professional development, completeing the program in the 2017-18 cohort.
A Team Effort
These visits were truly a team effort. Along with the classroom teachers and paraprofessionals, Title 1 teacher Mary Kate Buchanan and ESL teacher Nicole Cooper were part of this group effort as well. Nicole explained that the team has a group text aptly called, “Corona Time”, where they connect and support each other.
During these drop-offs, all staff wore face masks and the majority of students and their parents wore face masks as well. Special Education Kindergarten Teacher Kaylyn Parker explained that some of her students are on the spectrum. In fact, one such student couldn’t come outside because that student was confused, scared and, “literally didn’t recognize us,” she said.
However, that circumstance was the exception. Generally, students were shocked and delighted to see their teachers. In fact, many wanted to invite them into their homes! In turn, the teachers were just as delighted to see their students. “I enjoyed seeing the kids’ faces. It was awesome – just the best day,” Melanie said.
The Importance of Community and Collaboration
I asked the group how important community and collaboration is during these weeks of school shutdowns. Here is what they said:
Kaylyn – It’s important because parents are struggling right now. They need to know that we are here and they are not alone. Kindergarteners are sick of looking at the computer – they just aren’t built to sit at a computer all day.
Lucille Thibodeau Special Ed Paraprofessional – Kids are lost. It is really important that we connect with them.
Melanie – It is extremely important. Staying in contact is huge. We don’t get to close out the year and parents are struggling. We have a great team and we are all here for each other.
Noreen Howe, Kindergarten Teacher – It’s important that we are there for students emotionally. Their whole world has been disrupted. It’s the social emotional piece that they need.
Meghan Clancy-Brough – We have a special connection with the kids. The preschool and Kindergarten years are most important. These relationships with students and their families are what we are focusing on.
The Kindergarten team is planning on making another drop-off/short visit to students during the last week of school. Lucille mentioned that the whole staff at South Street Elementary are also planning a parade for students. Parents will drive students by the parade of staff. The Kindergarten staff are also in the process of planning a virtual Kindergarten graduation. As you can see, school never really “shut down” for this dedicated team.
Kindergarten Staff at South Street Elementary
Congratulations to the entire Kindergarten staff at South St Elementary. Your team effort to connect with your students is what Changemaking is all about – and you are all Changemakers!
Meghan Clancy-Brough, Special Education Kindergarten Teacher
Kaylyn Parker, Special Education Kindergarten Teacher
Noreen Howe, Kindergarten Teacher
Karen Crowley, Kindergarten Teacher
Melissa Guerard, Kindergarten Teacher
Meghan Basque, Kindergarten Teacher
Cindy Clark, Kindergarten Teacher
Mary Kate Buchanan, Title One Teacher
Nicole Cooper, ESL Teacher
Evelyn Rivera, Kindergarten Paraprofessional
Lisa Goguen,Kindergarten Paraprofessional
Melanie Amico, Special Ed Paraprofessional
Jo-Ann Martino, Kindergarten Paraprofessional
Val Delassandra, Special Ed Paraprofessional
Lucille Thibodeau Special Ed Paraprofessional
Lisa Bentalli, Special Ed Paraprofessional
Susan Keegan, Kindergarten Paraprofessional
Emily Thibodeau, Kindergarten Paraprofessional