To the Editor:
For school districts across New Hampshire, it’s been less than a week since 17,000 teachers began remote instruction for almost 200,000 students. With little warning, they have brought their classrooms online. This is no easy feat. It means disseminating student materials, preparing at-home lessons, learning new technologies, and building an online community, all while tending to their own families’ needs. If they weren’t already, our educators have become master jugglers.
While some industries have come to a temporary standstill, public education has been pushed into high gear. Our industry is fortunate to have the infrastructure in place to support virtual learning. It is even more fortunate to have strong and creative NH leaders, praised by Vice President Pence, to lead the nation during this crisis. Our state and district leadership responded quickly and dedicated thousands of hours to helping the children of New Hampshire. They are currently creating a structure to support virtual learning for teachers and students, while also answering to emergency needs like delivering meals. In addition, our building leaders are holding virtual staff meetings to keep educators informed and to share classroom ideas to improve student learning.
Despite the fear, trepidation and straight on sadness from not being with students in person, teachers across the state are stepping up. They are quickly educating themselves on tools like Google Classroom, Zoom and the myriad of virtual resources available. They are finding ways to connect with their students with daily readings, virtual class meetings, weekend class lessons, online assessments, daily schedules, and group assignments. We hear these stories every day, and it’s a tribute to our NH teacher’s love and passion for their profession. We know there are and will be, bumps; but overall, it has been truly life-affirming to watch this creative transformation take place seemingly overnight.
Parents have taken an active role in their child’s education to reinforce virtual instruction. For younger children, this means reviewing multiplication tables, studying the yearly calendar and reading together. For older students, parents are talking to their children about geometry lessons and writing assignments. Many parents of older children are even learning about technology from their kids! If you are a K-6 parent looking for ideas, check out our video at TinyURL.com/dsreads. Parents and guardians are role modeling lifelong learning for their students.
Supported by the NH Department of Education, Demonstrated Success has quickly adapted our professional development offerings to support the new needs of teachers and families. We developed and delivered 10 webinars this week, such as “Using Google Classroom,” “Innovative Ideas for Virtual Instruction” and “Family Friendly K-6 Literacy Resources to Use at Home,” to name just a few. The webinars we delivered this past week have been viewed live or recorded by more than 4,000 educators. If you are an educator who would like to register for an upcoming webinar, you can do so at TinyURL.com/dsTeachers. You can also view past webinars on our Youtube channel by searching “Demonstrated Success.”
These are tough times for so many. It is inspiring to see our NH educators rally together to support our children. The virtual connections we make now will positively impact students long after we return to brick and mortar learning. The next time you video chat with a teacher or see your principal (6 feet away) at the grocery store, please thank them. Our New Hampshire educators may not be on the frontlines at the emergency room, but they are, without a doubt, unsung heroes.
Paula Tsetsilas on behalf of
The Team at Demonstrated Success, education consulting