The Ballwin Elementary Wave Parade weaved its way through the neighborhoods surrounding the school Sunday night. Nearly 30 staff members, driving cars decked out in signs, streamers and, in one case, a giant stuffed toy bear on the hood, honked their horns and waved at students and families standing in their front yards or windows.
Even though all Rockwood schools are closed to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Ballwin's teachers and staff wanted their students to know that they're still there, and they still care.
"They can see that we’re OK, we see that they’re smiling, happy and
excited," said Ballwin Principal Christine Davis. "It allows for us to feel more assured that even though it’s an uncertain time, one thing’s for sure: We love each other no matter if we’re
physically in each other’s presence every day, or if it’s virtually or a wave.”
All over Rockwood School District, staff members are finding ways to maintain connections with their students even though they can't physically be with them.
At Eureka High, staff members recorded inspirational messages to post to the TikTok account for the Silver Line, a group of staff that normally dances at school assemblies and posts videos to social media.
Math teacher Stacey Bevill edited the messages together into one video, which has been viewed more than 1,700 times. She plans on regularly posting more fun content to the TikTok page during the closures,
"I got so many submissions that I had to splice each down to, like, two seconds," Bevill said. "I tried to do a teacher from every department and from every grade level so that anyone at Eureka High School can be like, 'That's my teacher. That's my principal. I know them.' A friendly face."
Rockwood Executive Director of Student Services Dr. Terry Harris and EdHub STL also collaborated to start the #allourkidschallenge and #allourchildrenchallenge hashtags on Twitter. Educators around the region have been uploading encouraging video messages to students along with the hashtag and challenging others to do the same.
The principals at the four Fenton quadrant elementary schools -- Bowles, Kellison, Stanton and Uthoff Valley -- planned a virtual spirit week for their schools starting March 30. Kellison Principal Dr. Kimberly Dickens got the idea from a national principals' forum, then worked with her three colleagues on the particulars.
Each school will have its own way of sharing out its spirit on Move It Monday, Technology Tuesday, What are You Reading Wednesday, Thankful Thursday and Fenton Friday.
"These types of activities are vital, trying to maintain these relationships," Stanton Principal Dr. Christy Starnes said. "It promotes community. With so much canceled, this is a way to help kids stay connected and still have fun."
Davis said there are more community-building activities to come at Ballwin as well.
important for all kids, but especially when we’re dealing with the little ones,
as much as humanly possible, to reach out," Davis said. "We should be checking on each other and meeting those basic needs. That
social piece of it is huge. That’s our charge moving forward. The academics are
going to be critical, but so is that social-emotional piece.”