Rogers Teachers Keep School Connections Alive During Remote Learning

June 10, 2020 | Education | Holley Bryant

Like every school across the nation, Rogers Adventist School in College Place, Washington, was thrown into remote learning with only 72 hours notice, and teachers stepped up to the challenge. This major change required creativity, innovation and patience.

While the academic pieces are important, Rogers teachers realized how vitally crucial the spiritual and social/emotional pieces are to a student's educational experience. The Rogers team engaged students in Friday Family Worship via Zoom with music led by teachers and beloved speakers including Andreas Beccai, Paddy McCoy, Jenniffer Ogden and Alex Bryan.

Monday Funday was another creation that kept students excited about Mondays, when they could share photos with different themes such as Dessert Day, Lego Day and Book Day. Easter provided a great opportunity for the Drive-by I Spy Easter Egg Hunt. The teachers also challenged the students to different contests and family challenges.

Parents have appreciated the connections as well. Hilary Dickerson, parent of a first grader, writes, “Malcolm loves any opportunity to connect with his teachers and friends, and we are so grateful for the hard work from everyone at Rogers. It brings him so much joy in a stressful time. The Easter egg hunt was a really fun (and safe) way to get us all out of the house together and to see Rogers' teachers and families (and wave from a distance). He takes Monday Funday quite seriously and reminds us to take pictures to post. We all appreciate the worship thoughts, reminders of hope and connections to our community.”

Parent Elizabeth Heinrich is anxious for schools to reopen. “Homeschooling my girls during these past two months has been challenging. I've never appreciated teachers more. Thankfully, the Rogers staff are incredible. Not only is the online instruction great, but they realize how much kids need community. My girls look forward to the weekly Friday morning worship over Zoom. We smile and laugh when we get emails with attached video of the teachers doing the hand jive or an Easter JibJab. 

"One of our favorite activities was the Easter egg hunt. The school sent out a list of teachers addresses and said to look for an 8-by-11 paper Easter egg at each teachers’ house. At that point, we were two and a half weeks into quarantine, and my girls were so sad about not going to school and seeing friends. What we didn't expect was the number of families we would see driving in their cars during the egg hunt. We waved at lots of other families and had an odd sense of being together even though we were apart.”

All teachers have been working harder than they ever have before, but they feel encouraged by the opportunities for engagement with their students. Loralee Thomas, fifth/sixth grade teacher, finds joy in these connections. “Our daily class worship/Bible class on Zoom and our weekly RAS Friday Family Worship have been so helpful in helping me stay connected to my students," she shares. "Seeing their faces brings me such joy each day, as we talk and share with each other.”

Toni Busby, seventh/eighth grade teacher, agrees. “I am noticing a new level of connection taking place with my homeroom. We have worship together each morning, and after our reading we discuss areas of growth from our personal worship times. I am encouraging them to take extra time with Jesus, since we have this unique opportunity of starting our day later. We are taking turns introducing our pets, hosting bedroom tours, sharing our burdens and worries, and displaying our most precious possessions (including what makes that possession important to us). Students are messaging 'I miss you all' at the end of our Zoom calls. There is a wonderful, renewed appreciation for one another.”

We miss our students but have realized just how resilient we can be throughout this tough time. Want to see pictures and videos of our different activities and themes? Check out our website at www.rschool.org.