Returning to School With a New Perspective




Returning to School With a New Perspective


By Director Laura Rice


Young-female-working-on-laptop-sitting-on-stepsWhen I think back to March 2020 and how the pandemic necessitated closing school buildings, I am proud that we were able to quickly put a remote learning plan together and reach out to support our students. 


Our students did a nice job adjusting to remote learning and joined with the staff to work together. 


The team problem-solved with parents on how to be more helpful and support their children during this unprecedented time. We were challenged by the remote learning; in person is so much different than looking at a person on the screen. We learned how to understand what students needed to be successful in a different manner. Our positive relational connections helped this process to be a success.


I have to say that it was difficult not seeing each other in person on a daily basis. I missed the in-the-moment interaction with students. I love being around people. I have a wonderful job where I can spend time with staff and students daily. I have always enjoyed going into classrooms, saying hello to everyone, speaking with parents, and meeting with our students during breaks and having interesting conversations.


I genuinely appreciate parents and guardians allowing us the opportunity to work with their sons and daughters both academically and clinically. Our students are amazing! I enjoy the moments when students share insightful or fun comments, as well as share personal thoughts that make your day better and help you learn something new.


I even miss handling crisis situations, as it is during those moments that you learn how to understand a students’ perspective by listening to how the struggle began and then together working towards a resolution.


My staff effectively used Zoom to speak and connect with our students each day. My opportunities to spend time with our students were limited and I missed those connections. That was hard for me. I love the in-person opportunities and missed the fluidity of the moment that often offers a pleasant surprise. I look forward to everyone coming back to school and having those moments of connection again.


New Ways to Reach Students

As we begin the journey to in-person teaching and learning during the 2020-2021 school year, we will incorporate some of what we learned about remote learning into our work to help students thrive.


Certainly, one overwhelmingly positive aspect of remote learning is how it helps us better reach students who struggle to attend school in the more traditional sense. Remote learning is helping us think of how we can use Zoom as a vehicle to reach out to those students that find being in school a challenge. We believe we can use Zoom to help these students get acclimated using a combination of a virtual school setting and then transition with a bit more comfort into our setting at STEP.


I have seen also how team collaboration and meetings can benefit from online opportunities. It can make it easier for everyone to attend a meeting or an interview when not faced with the struggle of transportation. Additionally, this could help families and districts gain information more quickly. These increased communication opportunities benefit all of us as we try to make our students and families be more successful.