Recently our colleagues at The New Teacher Project shared this report – Rising Together. The report looked at how 4 districts are building community during the pandemic. Community comes up a lot for families and caregivers, as well as with staff. I know personally as a parent I recently shared a desire for my kids to have more opportunities to build community. And their school did!
Ideas for Building Community During the Pandemic
We know building communities in cities, districts, and schools are more important than ever right now. Here are some ideas we’ve heard from parents or seen school partners take on:
- Continuing online clubs: Chess clubs, science clubs, even a running club are all things we’ve seen schools take on. We loved this one example that a parents shared after her daughter joined an online club. “My daughter joined a couple club meetings, and afterward a bunch of students began a group chat to meet each other and chat about similar interests. I saw a huge jump in her energy levels as she was able to socialize with new peers.”
- Special lunch meetings: We know teachers and staff want their time to get off of Zoom. At the same time, lunches are powerful opportunities for students. One parent shared “Shout out to Ms. G for hosting these. I heard my daughter laughing out loud for the first time in a long time. And when we asked our son if he was ready for his day he said, “I have something to look forward to – the lunch at 11:30.”
- Outdoor Gatherings: One of our Possip partners has a teacher who hosts a running club outside at a very large field during the weekends. They are able to distance and mask.
- Community meetings: Some Possip partners have continued community convenings – even if they are on Zoom or Google Meets or Team. They have a weekly 10 minute celebration as a community.
- Special events where students are heard: One of our partners, KIPP Sunnyside, hosted a student-led series called QuaranTeen (KIPP Sunnyside High School: Life as a QuaranTeen). We highly recommend you learn from the wisdom of these teenagers.
These are just a few ideas for building community during the pandemic. We know there are thousands of unique and special things happening across classrooms, communities, and schools.
If you’re looking for some ideas or brainstorming, reach out! I’d love to chat. firstname.lastname@example.org.