School Like No One Has Ever Experienced
Just a quick note to update all of supporters. The October of 2019 grant cycle turned out to be the last normal thing we did! Many of the grants awarded were successfully used during the fall, but as we all are aware, by the spring break of 2020 - the stay at home, stay healthy orders were in effect and several of the grants awarded, especially the field trips were postponed. As you know, the 2020 - 2021 school year started and stayed virtual - and we worked with the school district administrators to re-appropriate the funds usually used for Teacher Grants into the most important and effective support we could. All of this was contributed by end of September to make sure the schools were ready to teach in their new ways. We look forward to the 2021 - 2022 when our grant program has more of the look and feel we love to see.
Coupeville Schools Foundation:
Providing 3 Key Areas of Support to Coupeville Schools During Pandemic
“This year has been a whirlwind and I feel as if I have more things to accomplish than there are hours in the day to actually get them done.” Deb Sherman is a 5th grade teacher at Coupeville Elementary School. Her words are the words of teachers everywhere who are working hard to deliver the most effective teaching under the stressful conditions of this pandemic. In order to increase success with remote learning, the Coupeville School District has incorporated new software (iReady and Character Strong) and new technology hardware (lapel mics, cameras, and hot spots) to support teachers. The Coupeville Schools Foundation (CSF) is supporting the local school district with a $45,000 donation for Covid relief success.
The CSF board includes retired educators, parents, business owners—all Coupevillians with a positive attitude to do whatever they can to support local students and staff. The yearly grant process open to staff to supplement learning experiences that fall outside of the district budget has been changed to respond quickly to the unique challenges of the 2020-2021 school year. This began with a $30,000 check to Coupeville schools in October to supplement remote learning software and hardware purchases. $4,000 will go to 20 additional hot spots (from T Mobile) for students and their families. $6,000 will support classroom technology for remote learning like lapel microphones and cameras as needed by teachers. $10,000 will help fund the iReady curriculum, and the final $10,000 will help fund the Character Strong curriculum. As an additional surprise, the Whidbey Community Foundation (WCF) gave CSF $5,000 for Covid Relief Support and a $5,000 match if CSF could also raise $5,000. With fundraisers like Dine Out/Shop Out, individual donations, Circumnavigate Whidbey and the help of WCF, the total aid provided to the Coupeville schools this fall in this challenging time is $45,000. "We were really pleased to be able to equally divide our support into three areas that are in line with the Coupeville Schools Foundation's values: Equity, Scholastics, and Character. We also changed our model of giving to quickly provide the entire sum to the school in September" said James Steller, Board Member.
Equity: Technology for All
According to Superintendent Steve King, 25 wireless headsets and speakers for CES have been purchased. 5 earbud style headsets have been purchased to the CHS/CMS staff. GoPro cameras for both synchronous and asynchronous teaching are being evaluated for use once there is a secure way to stream the video feed to our students. If these technologies are successful at the middle and high schools more will be purchased for all of the teachers. 57 hot spots have been checked out to Coupeville families and 5 are in community centers. The community centers are in Terry Mobile Park, Boys & Girls Club, Sierra Country Club, & Rolling Hills. The hot spots were donated by T Mobile but there is a $20 monthly fee for each one. Not only does this support the teachers to be successful in a virtual world, it provides equity in our community to access the online schooling no matter where the student is.
iReady helps teachers to individualize instruction and to address learning gaps. Teachers are including iReady lessons into their daily classwork. Special education is using the iReady diagnostics to help tailor instruction to individual students needs and to engage students in high interest lessons and activities. Math and language arts classes in the elementary and middle schools are also using iReady. Toni Crebbin shares, “To start the year, iReady starts with a diagnostic test. This was super helpful to me, as in not seeing kids’ work on a daily basis, and especially in not knowing the sixth grade at all, I could get a grasp on who might be struggling by seeing the diagnostic result. Another benefit of this is that along with being able to assign grade level assignments to go with my lesson, iReady will individualize assignments based on past skills the students missed on their diagnostic. I require students to successfully complete one of those lessons a week. This means I may have one student working on a second grade skill that week, while a different student is working on a fifth grade skill. I could never individualize the entire class before, so this has been very helpful. And for the most part, students are able to independently do this work and feel pretty successful.”
Social and Emotional Support
Character Strong is an extensive curriculum to support Social Emotional Learning K - 12. At the elementary level it is called Purposeful People and is divided into lessons for grades K - 2nd and grades 3rd-5th focusing on 10 character traits: Respect, Courage, Perseverance, Honesty, Kindness, Empathy, Gratitude, Creativity, Responsibility, and Cooperation. Under each trait is a large variety of activities such as video clips, discussion topics, coloring pages, books to read, songs to sing, role plays and ideas for parents at home to reinforce the character trait. Currently the school Counselor Dana Stone is visiting 16 classrooms via google meets to present a 15-20 minute lesson each week, starting with Respect and will move on to Gratitude. Cheyanne Beck uses the lessons as weekly emails to middle school students and families. Online lessons to targeted groups will begin soon. Dana Stone works with Deb Sherman’s language arts classes once a week. Deb shares, “In the fifth grade it’s called Purposeful People. We’ve only had two sessions so far but the kids are enjoying it and are very engaged. I love its focus on kindness.”
Meeting the Challenges with Our Community's Support
Superintendent Steve King shared the following with students and their families: “I will also state that our students are experiencing a lot of success with our new and improved remote learning program this year. Our attendance and engagement has been fantastic. We will also be having thoughtful additions to in-person learning for those students who are currently not engaging in our remote classes.”
Yes, educators around the U.S. have too much to do with more challenges than ever this school year. 5th grade teacher Deb Sherman sums it up so well:
I am also teaching in an empty classroom, and that is kind of sad. But in a time when I could feel helpless and overwhelmed (and I did at first and occasionally still do), I am actually getting through this. Why? Because of the support I am receiving from the administration and our Foundation. As a teacher in the Coupeville School District I am so grateful for the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools (aka Coupeville Schools Foundation). The support they have provided to me as a teacher has been instrumental in providing programs and materials for the students I teach. I have had almost 100% attendance in my homeroom this year - that is amazing. Attendance in my other English Language Arts classes has also been high. I attribute this to the fact that parents have been able to get technology and hotspots for their students when it isn't readily available to them. The inequities that contribute to the digital divide have far-reaching implications for our school age children who do not have internet access. The Foundation has helped to bring that divide together by helping all of our students. I also know that, as a teacher, if there is anything I need to be a more effective teacher, the Foundation has my back. It is amazing talking to other teachers to hear all of the things the Foundation has provided to make distance learning doable. In these crazy times, we are definitely working as a community to educate our kids.
Anyone interested in learning more about Coupeville Schools Foundation, volunteering or donating to support wonderful programs such as what you have just read, please visit www.4coupevilleschools.org or on Facebook
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