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Valedictorian-like Effort by Educators Around the Nation

By Matt Witkowski, Manager

With classroom bells heard through a computer and school sports officially benched, COVID-19’s impact on education will be felt for a long time. Despite the social and financial impacts of this pandemic, the leadership, strength and love our schools have demonstrated is something to be celebrated.

A teacher’s ability to develop relationships with students certainly has been tested over the past few months. Their ability to adapt, innovate and support their communities during this time should come as no surprise. The following are memorable ways educators and schools have stayed connected with students and families during the pandemic.

COMMUNICATION:

While school buildings were closed, local media outlets were still interested in feel-good stories and schools filled the void.

  • Teaching lessons through Zoom and Google Meet are the new normal. But a Flint Community School teacher (client) took it to the next level by incorporating choreography lessons to her students in her weekly calls.
  • Teachers miss their students. Everyone could use a simple message of hope. The Lambert team worked to send #MessagesOfHope to students across Michigan from their teachers. This concept aired before a local station’s TV breaks.
  • Teachers at a Michigan high school received attention for a music video stitched together to let their students know how much they are missed.

In a world full of negatives, schools remain a great resource for encouraging stories to uplift us all.

EVENTS:

Many graduates didn’t have an opportunity to walk across the stage for their diplomas this school year, but schools uncovered creative ways to recognize graduates while adhering to their state’s social distancing mandates.

  • With its Class of 2020 achieving a record amount in college scholarships – over $16 million – West Ottawa High School celebrated its graduating class with a motor parade through its campus and community.
  • Some Florida 2020 grads took a victory lap at Daytona International Speedway and received their diploma as they crossed the finish line.
  • Many high-profile personalities ranging from Oprah to President Obama delivered commencement addresses during virtual ceremonies.
  • Countless high schools lit up football stadiums to honor the Class of 2020, bringing smiles to their communities.

Virtual graduation backgrounds and video montages were simple ways to help make the Class of 2020’s day more special.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Parents and students continue to look to their school’s social media platforms as a source of information and comfort. With routines shattered, it’s important that schools keep familiar faces and special moments at the forefront of social media communication.

  • While we are always thankful for our teachers, Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative worked with Lambert to create a powerful and moving thank you video to ensure educators realize how much they are appreciated.
  • A Capella Choir videos, virtual talent shows, and senior sport spotlights can keep your social properties fresh and up to date.
  • In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week in early May, Lambert paid tribute to the amazing teachers that influenced our lives and helped us become lifelong learners.

Through my education client experience at Lambert and my high school coaching role at a local public school, I’ve witnessed firsthand the amazing work educators are doing to ensure the continued academic growth and well-being of their students. While so much uncertainty still exists, I am confident that our teachers and schools will continue to rise to the challenge. I only hope they also continue to celebrate their success so that others are aware of their positive impact on the community.