Community, connection and relationships became increasingly important. While creating unique learning experiences for students, our staff worked just as hard to provide a safe community, encouragement and strong, personal connections for students when they needed it most.
Teachers and staff members organized safe, at-home visits with students. They volunteered time and resources to further support and connect. Social workers arranged in-person appointments and dropped off supplies to support students’ mental health. Teachers dropped off learning supplies for families in need. The students weren’t the only ones feeling the positive effects of the visits.
“It helped students know that we are still here for them and this situation is temporary. We smiled with our eyes, gave ‘virtual hugs’ and spoke encouraging words. After the visit, many students were more open to talking about personal situations and struggles. It was a way for us to show them that we still ‘see them’ even if they are far from us.”
“I have been to probably over 10-12 homes delivering school supplies, curriculum, food, technology, cards and well wishes to classmates who were ill. One visit I wore the Highcroft Ridge mascot costume for a student who had just returned from the hospital.”
“I dropped off sensory supplies to help a child: a weighted blanket, a special chair, and a fidget. It was really helpful for the student.”
“I delivered supplies, food and goodies. We would meet right outside their home or would talk through the door. It felt so good to see them and see their eyes and faces light up when they saw me!”
“Reconnecting with students and families in person gave me the feeling that we would be able to endure this situation and that our bond/connection was powerful enough to withstand the barriers we are facing. It gave me hope!”
These visits provided connection when students needed it most.
What began as a single conversation turned into a school-wide project to deliver a care package to every South High student at their home. It would come to be known as “The Great Care Package Project.”
Principal Patrice Aitch stated, “Our hope was that our students realized we missed them, love them and wanted to encourage them.”Each care package contained some of the same items, but was also unique to each student.
Jennifer K., senior at South High, reflected on the day she received her care package. “My English teacher was the last person I expected to knock on my door on a Saturday. It was a thoughtful surprise. As hard as it’s been not seeing everyone at school, this was a great gift to receive.”
Every student was accounted for in Manchester and the city of St. Louis. Over 50 staff members, including with Parkway bus drivers, volunteered to deliver the care packages to every student home.
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