MAUSD stories, Part 3: supports
Editor's note: This is a project of the Mount Abraham Unified School District's Community Engagement Committee (CEC). The Addison Independent is hosting this content as a service to the community. Names of the interviewees have been withheld in accordance with the commitments made by the CEC for the project. (Click here to read more about this project.)
Part 3: What have been the most helpful supports for you so far in shifting the way you work?
My mom and dad help me — they say, “You can do it.” My teacher says, “Keep doing your work and your brains will grow.”
When I go on Zoom meeting with my teacher, she tells me different things that I need to do in case I forgot something. She looks at my work online and sees what I have done, and she talks to me about it, like if there is a new (online) book that she has picked for me.
I like talking on Zoom meetings because then I can see my friends and see what they’re doing. It’s hard to set up a Zoom meeting to just see my friends outside of our school time, because you have to call each one and set up a time to do it that everyone agrees to.
My teachers have a newsletter they give out to us every Sunday with the homework. I use this to make lists of my assignments. They also have office hours, when it’s the best time to email them for a quick response. They are also doing Zooms more regularly. I really appreciate all that the teachers are doing. I can’t thank them enough. My parents help, and my dad is an engineer so he helps me with math. My twin sister and I are on the same crew and have the same work so we help each other. Also, being able to talk to my Zeno community over Zoom is a great support too.
I think staying connected with my classmates and friends and being able to work with them so I still get to see people who are not in my family. It can be really motivating too. Having other people that you are working with has been a lifesaver. All my teachers have been really great in providing support. My advisory teacher has been a gem.
Elementary Teacher – Grade 1
People are willing and flexible to do just about anything that we need. Our principal will do anything, make copies, etc. The way that everybody just came together, supported each other and figured it out. Just the way that we all jumped onboard, and figured out how to support each other. We were able to get out not only our Maintenance Learning Plan, but also our Continuation of Learning Plan. People who are supporting us do realize how much we are doing to support our students — so they are being cautious to not overload with too much extra (emails, expectations). There is an understanding that we will do our best, but that it can also change and get better. We will reflect and tweak as we go. We’ve had great support from people supporting teachers.
Middle School Teacher – Grades 7-8
My colleagues, always my colleagues. Everyone is working their butt off, and when you have a question/dilemma and pose it to a group of other educators everyone is very generous with ideas.
High School Teacher
I honestly have seen great leadership from our admin team, our leadership teams. They’ve made it work for us. Sometimes they’ve had to make quick decisions or do a flip and change something, but it’s never felt frantic. It’s always felt like they were doing what was best ... and doing their best. Our Administrative Team has been doing some great leading for us; shaping things for us. “How are we going to go online? What’s that going to look like?” They fixed that in a week.
Our PBL (Proficiency Based Learning) coaches have been really great. We just had a meeting yesterday. They helped us through “How are we going to do grading? What’s that going to look like?” Maybe we don’t really have all the answers and we’re still trying to figure it out, but ... I don’t feel like I’m lost. I don’t feel like I’m left alone. My teacher leader for science is always checking in, making sure I have what I need; giving me things — “Oh I found this, look at this resource” — which is a continuation of what she’s always done and I appreciate that. I feel like I’m very supported by those people who are in the leadership positions. It says a lot and makes me feel really good about working here.
Having such fabulous food service people — having that handled so quickly and so well — for that team to be so highly functional was the biggest help. Because that was handled so well, that automatically included a delivery system for physical materials on the academic end. Very quickly the decision was made to send Chromebooks home for kids. In our school district we already had 1-on-1 Chromebooks for every kid — and so we were able to send everyone a Chromebook who needed one right off the bat, and that was a huge help. The tech team has been stellar in terms of very rapid response to any tech issues — on the part of teachers and kids and families. So they will talk to a mom online, help them get their kids get sorted out, and things like that. Damaged Chromebooks come back one day and a new one goes out the next day. It’s all very fast. And the more I read about the state and the rest of the country, that is just not the case. So we’re doing really well on that front. The tech people have been in their element. They’re doing really well. It really is incredible
Everyone is available to help — everyone on every level is putting their shoulder to the plow. Even folks who couldn’t come to work for one reason or another, offered to help from home. I have never felt desperate because there are so many people doing such good work. We have a very deep bench. People cover for each other.
High School Principal
The district leadership team has been a huge support. Having a calm, well-informed, thoughtful and transparent superintendent makes the work easier. He provides support and guidance and has been fantastic at letting me work with my leadership teams on the development of our systems and approach for remote learning. Mount Abe’s various leadership teams — teacher leader, PBL coaches/coordinators and the admin team are a great support system not only for me but our colleagues as well. They have been incredibly flexible, willing, patient and kind during the most challenging of moments. We find humor in all that we do to help keep us grounded. Despite the fact that we are apart it is important to me to keep us together and keep morale high. Making goofy videos, asking for photo submissions for Facebook, daily posts of affirmation and motivation help keep me grounded in my “why” and hopefully am modeling what our teachers are doing for our students and the supports they’re providing in so many ways. I am thankful every day to be an Eagle and lead this group of incredible educators. I can’t imagine going through the COVID experience with any other group of people. They are inspirational and the heart of this school and it’s my privilege to provide guidance in challenging and uncertain times.
School District Superintendent
Supports have included superintendent groups, the MAUSD administrative team, the Central Office team, as well as the building principals and coordinators. Policy governance has been a support, allowing me to make decisions needed without being bogged down by board approval. Systems that have been built around coaching/coordinating that support in math, literacy, and SEL (Social Emotional Learning) have been vital to me, our team and teachers. Our Food Service Cooperative has enabled us to do things better and more efficiently than if we were using an outside group to serve food. ELP (Extended Learning Program) was already licensed as a childcare program — that was another systems component that was already in place. And people stepping up to be part of the team that provides care and learning to children whose family members are health care providers and other essential workers. The local union has been very supportive. The union leadership and I have had a very collaborative working relationship. Strong relationships and systems are making us able to provide services to students and greater community.