Winter Wonderland

Community, Joy, Gratitude.

This has definitely been an interesting school year at Green Gables Elementary. None of us have ever experienced anything like this pandemic, where a third of our students have been learning remotely all year and from November we all began learning, teaching, and working remotely continuing until January 19th. However, our little school felt the joy, community, and more importantly counted all the reasons to be grateful as we headed off to winter break.

The “Winter Wonderland” reverse parade was planted as an idea from a teacher at our school, Mrs. Bishop, and blossomed from there. Supporters among our dedicated families came one by one to help set up decorations. There were inflatable decorations and lots of lights strung along the way. School staff made signs, PTA members made goodie bags for teachers to give students, and staff dressed in winter spirit gear. The school community came together beautifully with full-fledged effort to bring joy, hope, and love, to our students before heading off to winter break. The parade began, lights gleaming, music ringing, and socially distanced staff members holding signs filled with warm winter wishes. Santa stood waving on the corner of Woodard and Estes as families drove by. The parade was bringing apparent joy, obvious through students’ smiles, laughter, and waves, along with words of appreciation and love between families, students and Green Gables staff.

Suddenly to no surprise, the parade appeared to move beyond just the school community. Although likely part of the residents’ daily routines of walking, jogging, and even biking past the school, the atypical holiday parade appeared to be filling the neighborhood people with happiness as well. Neighbors were waving and smiling, wishing us all a happy holiday season. Others drove past and waved, honked and yelled words of appreciation from their windows. A sight so touching to behold, that in the midst of a pandemic, the school community could come together in a socially distant way to bring some much needed joy. A winter parade sparked as an idea by a teacher, made possible by the collaboration of a community that is at the heart of Green Gables Elementary, gave warmth and gratitude to everyone, during a time when there is so much uncertainty. What a wonderful constant for our children to know they attend school in a community that cares so deeply about them.

Finally, as we look forward to a new year, regardless of what it may bring, may we all be reminded that we are also truly blessed by the amazing Green Gables’ students we will continue to serve.

With Warm Winter Wishes,

Suanne Hawley, Green Gables Elementary School Principal

Remote Learning at Green Gables Elementary School

NEWS ITEM — Remote Learning at Green Gables Elementary SchoolSouthern Gables Neighborhood Association

In Response to Covid-19

By Suanne Hawley, Principal, Green Gables Elementary School

We can all agree that Covid-19 has caused many challenges in our community, state, nation and world.  One of those challenges brought the question, “How will we continue to educate our students while they cannot physically attend school?”  At Green Gables we learned that we needed to prepare a remote learning model in less than three days. We immediately went to work relying heavily on our school vision of “Leading, Learning, and Growing… TOGETHER.”  Our instructional coach and secretary worked together, ensuring every student received a device (Chromebook or iPad) to take home, while our teachers began preparing the students by showing them online tools such as Seesaw and Google Classroom. Little did we know the day our students left with devices in hand, that we would continue with remote learning for the remainder of the school year and would even be looking into the possibility of remote learning beginning this fall. This adjustment proved difficult for both parents and students alike, while also challenging teachers to rise to the occasion and teach in an untraditional way, but this challenge is one our teachers were up for!

Green Gables Elementary School

The Heart of the Neighborhood

Our remote learning model included both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. Synchronous learning included activities such as Zoom and Google Hangout class meetings, virtual small group lessons and scheduled activities for students to see one another and interact in real time.  Asynchronous learning included self-guided lessons with activities such as video streams, digital books, and interactive boards, including Padlet and Flipgrid. Both models offer pros and cons but were important in attempting to meet the needs of students. Three weeks in, we surveyed our families to gather feedback on how we could maximize engagement, learning, and support for students and their families.

Results:  100 families completed the survey

  • 91% agreed or strongly agreed they felt supported by the school during remote learning
  • 92% agreed or strongly agreed the school was providing ways for students to connect with their classmates and teachers
  • 96% stated that communication from the school was effective or highly effective
  • 85% stated the learning included a mix of online and offline learning assignments
  • 86% said accessing the technology was easy to very easy
  • 82% said that if they or their child was feeling anxious they knew how to reach out for support within the school community

After looking closer at the results and comments from families, we held a community Zoom meeting offering tips for remote learning, as well as social emotional support/resources for families. This allowed us to gain the perspective of families, along with the challenges they were facing. 

Along the way, we were also able to implement other fun experiences for our students, such as: virtual garden club (in partnership with teachers and community members), virtual national field day, and virtual connections with our buddies.  As the school year comes to a close, we anticipate what “back to school” in the fall might look like. We have been leading remote learning for the first time ever, while also learning and adjusting along the way,  growing in ways we never could have imagined. We will be ready with whatever the fall brings, with new tools in our tool box, working together to give our Green Gables students the best learning opportunities within our new reality. They are worth it!