“On the first day of remote learning, I thought it was important to do the announcements to welcome students back. Later that night, my husband, who is also an educator, mentioned how cool it would be if I did the announcements every morning to provide some normalcy for everyone,” Davis said.
“From then on I have done ‘Goooooood Morning Lakota East’ every morning from my front porch. I also felt it was important to start our remote learning days in the same way we start our traditional school days, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance was an important part and has continued during our live porch announcements,” she said.
“The feedback has been overwhelming and very positive. I have had students, parents, community members and alumni reach out to me, letting me know how much they appreciate this. Many say they watch the announcements every day to kick-off their remote learning,” said Davis.
The leader of Lakota’s other high school — Lakota West — said social media broadcasts maintain an emotional bond with students.
“I really want to do the announcements to stay connected to the kids and community,” said Elgin Card, principal of Lakota West.
That emotional connection works both ways, said Card, who appreciates the feedback.
“The idea of doing this job without seeing my kids, is something I never thought would happen. I understand it is temporary, but I miss my kids terribly,” he said.
Some area superintendents are doing their own social media outreach campaigns with Lakota’s Matt Miller and Middletown Schools’ Marlon Styles Jr. among some of the most active in the region.
Both were recognized by national communication organizations prior to the coronavirus outbreak for their use of social media outreach and advancing digital learning.
Many of Fairfield Schools’ 10,000 students are staying connected with their school principals digitally.
Kim Hauer, principal at Fairfield Compass Elementary, said “communicating, connecting and building relationships with our families is at the heart of what we do and social media, more now than ever before, helps us do that.”
“Whether it be just a heartfelt, ‘We miss you!’ message, a reminder of how to access work, a reminder of where to pick up food if you need it, how to access mental health resources, or an avenue to share pictures/videos of our students and staff just to bring a smile to our kids faces, it helps us stay connected and remember we are a Fairfield family, even when we are physically separated,” said Hauer.