Due to the virtual start to the 2020-2021 school year, Rockwood School District students were not able to participate in regular Meet the Teacher events.
While some schools held virtual Meet the Teacher nights, Selvidge Middle
seventh-grade language arts teacher Brittany Haggerty brought her own version of the event to the homes of her 40 students.
Over the first two weeks of school, Haggerty visited each of her students after school hours to introduce herself to the families and drop off welcome bags. She checked with the parents beforehand to make sure they were comfortable with a visit. For the few students for which she could not coordinate an in-person visit, she shipped the welcome bags and arranged for one-on-one virtual meetings via Zoom.
"It's been really awesome to see the students in their own environment at their homes," Haggerty said. "I want them to know that I'm physically here for them. I want them to feel that school is still school. The world is a little different, but we want to make it as normal as we can."
Haggerty completed a similar undertaking after the school closures in the spring, delivering goodie bags with thank-you notes to her students during the last week of school in May.
"It has made me feel so much more a part of this community, getting to know these parents and seeing these people," Haggerty said. "That trust-building is huge right now. We're still here. We're still learning and teaching. The kids are still No. 1."
Selvidge eighth-grade mathematics teacher Tanya Bergantz has also been busy connecting with students outside of the virtual classroom during the early going of the school year.
Bergantz's algebra course uses a consumable textbook, meaning it is designed for students to tear out pages and worksheets from the book. When she realized that not all of her students had been able to pick up their books during Selvidge's availability windows, she received permission from Principal Dr. Mike Anselmo to deliver the books to the students who had yet to receive them.
For her geometry students, she also went through the extra step of preparing detailed written notes for the first two units of the school year and dropping them off for students who do not have access to a printer.
"We're so thankful at Selvidge to have such great community support," Bergantz said. "I was helping the kids out and helping myself to reach them the way in which I wanted to reach them. Our kids rock. It's been great to see the awesomeness of our supportive administrators, families and hard-working kids."