By Guest Blogger Susan Z. Davis, Director of Communication and Marketing, Greensboro Day School
Greensboro Day School welcomed 771 students, age 2 through grade 12 to school on August 26 after completing the end of the 2019-20 school year in distance learning. This school also welcomed 180 new students, the largest number of students since 1972. Teachers saw smiling eyes behind masks as students stepped into classrooms for the first time in months and returned friendly waves over computer screens to students logging in from their homes.
While new normals include wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and daily health screenings, a walk around the GDS campus also reveals other new normals. Classes are taking place outside, and it’s not only PE. English group discussions, jazz band rehearsals, science experiments, and of course time for outdoor play. You now regularly see students reading in Crazy Creek chairs in a grassy area in the center of campus, students observing plants and streams, and detailing it in their journals while on a nature hike for science class.
Realizing that families need flexibility now more than ever, GDS students have the option to learn either on campus or remotely. Through Swivl and Zoom technology, students participate in their classes in real-time and fully engage in classroom discussions and activities. Parents and students appreciate the freedom to choose the best educational environment for their families.
Many will talk about the silver linings that COVID-19 brought to all of us. Maybe it’s more family time and movie nights, walks around the neighborhood and meeting your neighbors, or perfecting a sourdough bread recipe. School leaders have experienced similar breakthroughs — schools are figuring out how to better utilize outdoor space on campus, offering more virtual parent meetings to better accommodate the needs of families, changing the daily schedule to allow for more breaks in the school day, while continuing to keep the safety and social-emotional development of all children at the forefront of decision making.
Serving students during a pandemic has caused us to think even more deeply about education. What does it mean to foster inclusivity, create resilient problem solvers, and truly focus on health and well-being? Educators have been forced to become more nimble and find inventive ways to refine and redefine academic excellence at GDS. Teachers are meeting this task head-on by using research, talking to schools who have already started this work, implementing creative ideas from students, and giving and receiving feedback regularly. The work isn’t easy, and it isn’t perfect, but teachers, students, and parents are learning and growing together.
One of the many reasons families choose Greensboro Day School is our commitment to develop the intellectual, ethical, and interpersonal foundations students need to become constructive contributors to the world. Learn more by scheduling a campus tour at greensboroday.org/visit or calling 336.288.8590.
*Sponsored by Greensboro Day School