The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm. Not since the early 20th Century have we seen anything remotely similar. This time, however, it spread much more quickly than the Spanish Flu due to our technological advances. Thankfully, we also had that same technology to continue to educate students. But that came with a cost.
What Has Your Community Lost?
As schools across the country shut down during the spring of 2020 and transitioned to virtual learning, parents and students quickly learned how to learn online and to find the resources necessary to make that happen. Teachers struggled to understand new and evolving roles. Then, just as they started to get settled into a new way of doing things, schools opened back up. Still, nothing was back to normal. Social distancing, constant sanitizing, hybrid learning, flex teaching, and a revolving door of quarantining students and staff took a toll on teachers. The results are still being felt today.
Even though most schools have reopened in person, the look and feel of the educational environment is forever changed. Many students didn’t return to their former school. Some parents and caregivers found alternatives that they chose to stick with. Others feared returning. Some are simply “lost,” and we don’t know where they moved to or how they are learning.
Many teachers also chose to make changes during the pandemic. The demands of teaching, already intense and often unappreciated by the general public, were only heightened. Teachers had to learn a new way to teach, keep themselves and their families safe, nurture the students in their care, and practice self-care (hopefully) while COVID rules and school policies changed frequently. For many, the choice to retire, change profession, or move to a different educational option led them to resign from their previous teaching position.
As we emerge into a post-COVID age, school enrollment is down in public, private, and charter schools. Fewer teachers are available, and schools are running with overcrowded and overworked staff. And families, having witnessed virtual education with their students, are engaged in school affairs in new and sometimes controversial ways.
How Can ThinK-12 Help?
So, what do we do? First, educators across the country must re-envision what education looks like: how we teach, where we teach, and how we engage with families in meaningful and productive ways to best serve the students in our care.
ThinK-12 is a web-based application that works with your school website on any internet-enabled device. Our sole purpose is to support your school’s growth, health, and well-being by 1) enrolling, engaging, and re-enrolling families and 2) recruiting, engaging, and retaining staff.
It is our belief that this purpose is best attained through the development of a school community that engages students, families, staff, faculty, and community stakeholders. Three core beliefs undergird this process.
We believe that building community within a school must be an intentional act.
We believe building community within a school is the shared responsibility of families and school staff.
We believe that building community requires everyone to recognize and build upon strengths.
As we live out these beliefs with you and your staff, we provide and continually create content and applications to engage prospective and current families, teachers, and school staff. The goal is to work with you to create an online community and support network that draws people in and makes them want to stay. Technology helps us do this through tools designed to educate, inform, and bring education stakeholders together both in the virtual and real worlds. When put into practice, the result is a welcoming, innovative educational experience that meets the needs of all stakeholders.
What Do You Believe?
Reflection is one of the most critical of the higher-order processes. Through reflection, we learn from our mistakes or challenges and grow from them. So, what have you learned over the last several years? What impact has COVID had on your school and your community? What do you want your school to look like in the next several years? Finally, how can we work with you to make that happen?