By: Sharon Aron Baron
Teachers and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are sending out positive messages to students in a video they won’t be seeing face-to-face until May 1 — at the earliest.
The video was the idea of MSD Principal Michelle Kefford, who wanted to reach out to students and make them feel connected to the school and their teachers, despite not being able to be there — especially the senior class who are missing out on their last few weeks of school.
Kefford sent out the request for photos from staff on Monday, and by Tuesday at 8 p.m., they had collected over 100 photos.
Assistant principal and longtime employee Sandra Davis put it all together on iMovie and laid the soundtrack.
According to MSD Academic Specialist Anna Koltunova-Fleischer, It was an amazing turnaround from coming up with the idea and then making it happen. As the pictures flowed in, staff members were replying “all” in email and adding messages to each other as well. It was a great way to keep the connection going with our students and also with the staff.
With school shutting down due to the COVID-19 outbreak before spring break, and with plans to stay closed after, Marjory Stoneman Douglas staff worked during this time, sending emails with tutorials they recorded on different aspects of the school learning platform, Canvas. They also did live web conference sessions to help teachers one-on-one and in groups to make sure they were prepared to launch on March 30.
And it’s not getting better in the cities that the high school covers: As of March 31, Coral Springs had 32 COVID-19 cases, and Parkland had 11.
“The truth is, our teachers didn’t really have a spring break,” said Koltunova-Fleischer. “They’ve all been working so hard on getting their learning online and operational, so this idea was a great way to get everyone to take a step back from the computer and send positive vibes to students and each other during this time.”
Koltunova-Fleischer added, “We wanted the students to know that we may not see each other every day, but we’re here, we miss them, and we’ll get through this together.”