“My footsteps echo down the empty halls each morning as I step into our darkened school. Last year at this time, we were experiencing the bustle and gleaming bright energy of teens interacting with each other. Now, I face a day with little actual human interaction other than my amazing custodians and secretary. Day after day, I peer into the computer, trying to make a connection with people who are physically not in the same space. As an extrovert, the challenges of this work are real, and precious communication can become lost in translation.
What this experience has done for me is underscore the vital importance of in-person relationships and brick and mortar schools. As a school that focuses on project-based and arts integration, I recognize that our teachers have been posed with a unique challenge regarding how to stay true to our mission and values in this completely unique setting. As a school that develops powerful relationships with students and families, we strive to somehow make that connection seem as real as possible. As a person who deeply values creativity, I muster the courage to optimize sporadic spurts of energy to develop unique opportunities. I think what is happening is teaching us to not take the good times for granted, learn to love the people around us and find joy in the little things. Like small gifts to brighten a co-worker’s day, doing silly stuff like sending our props for spirit week, and celebrating small victories. Some part of me feels like this experience is helping us re-examine our values and what is really important. I know I will come out a better human from this challenging period of time. My hope and dream is that I can influence others to do the same.”
— Ame Beard, Principal, Academy of Arts and Academics