While the school year is still on pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s easy for the morale of students or normal productivity to drop. That’s where the teachers and staff at Woodward-Granger Elementary School come into play.
On Thursday, March 26, elementary teachers put on the “Parade of Teachers” as educators traveled the Granger and Woodward communities with various signs and writings on their vehicles. With simple messages, the teachers, led by a police escort, displayed a simple message that has been the foundation of Woodward-Granger Elementary.
“I think just like teachers all across the state, our teachers are missing their kids just as much as the kids are missing their teachers so it’s a culture thing,” began Woodward-Granger Elementary principal Matt Brummond. “We’ve built a culture where kids know they are loved and are safe and can learn and this is another extension of that.”
The idea for a parade came from first-grade teacher Diane Erickson.
“My daughter teaches at North Polk and they were doing something like this with their teachers so I thought that we should do something like this,” Erickson said. “It’s exciting because both teachers and students get the chance to come together again as a community.”
Around 30-40 cars paraded through the streets in an event that was bigger than any one person.
“I put it out to teachers and then to the Woodward Granger moms and mapped out the communities and the response time from the teachers was instantaneous,” said Erickson. “They were all over it. We have the best teachers here at Woodward-Granger Elementary School.”
Families across the two communities showed up with signs and appreciation of what was taking place. Heidi Hall and her family said those very same educators are helping families through this unprecedented time in educational history.
“It’s been an interesting process but these people in the cars have been nothing but amazing,” started Hall. “They’ve sent resources and have touched base every day and the kids don’t feel like they’re truly away from school and we have every right to thank these teachers and Mr. Brummond. This (virus) sucks but with the help of these teachers we’re doing well.”
It has certainly been trying times as of late but events like the parade are one of many ways to bring back an important aspect lost by the absence of a regular school session.
“Bringing back some type of normalcy is very important because without a little bit of a routine it’s easy to get into a routine that is not productive,” said Brummond. “Plus we’re helping out the parents because they’re trying to work at home and be productive members of their staff. We’re doing what we can to make sure our kids have a little bit of normalcy in their lives.”
Ever since the first word of a pause in school, the teachers were busy doing what they could to bring resources and more to the students in pursuit of normalcy, as noted by Hall with regards to her children Elizabeth and Garrett.
“The teachers and their efforts have been outstanding,” said Hall. “We use an app called Seesaw Class and every morning, her (Elizabeth’s) teacher starts the day out with a message and sings, Ms. Johnson in Kindergarten does the same thing. They are very much still connected which is very important. Without their support, we wouldn’t be doing as well as we have been.”
There’s no denying the impact that the event and other instances have had on the students but as Erickson puts it, in her 24th and final year with Woodward-Granger Elementary School, it’s just as important for the teachers.
“Doing events like these are extremely important for us teachers as well,” began Erickson. “No one has gone through this before and the support from the students means a lot.”