Commentary By: Dr. Joseph Conway
As we closed out the past school year, we were dealing with many new and unexpected hurdles caused by the pandemic. Everybody was tired of the Zooms. All of our special events were on perpetual hold. We felt limited in our National Honor Society Inductions, National Beta Club Inductions, Grade Level Awards, Baccalaureates as well as Graduations. We had lost our first-grade tea parties, end of the year trips, and other events students and staff hold dear.
Our solution to these hurdles were Box Kits. These are packages hand delivered to homes by the schools’ teachers and administrators that are filled with school regalia, certificates, battery operated candles, vestments, t-shirts, and always a cookie or cupcake, or edible treat.
This became an essential approach as we ended last year and began this one. We morphed a portion of our operation into an Amazon like packaging and delivery system for our families.
The intent than was to turn a screen event into a community which was celebrating together and could enjoy something a bit unique. Each event had a moment were all participants in each of their little screens lit their candle, put on an article of clothing, lifted their teacup, or held up their certificate.
This school year we used that same idea to prepare our students for classroom learning. Science kits, art kits, introduction to Kindergarten kits, all were developed and packaged up for delivery. These have been unique offerings we were able to provide our students to offer a hands-on specialized learning experience.
Inherent advantages also became apparent that lent itself to our delivery system. By using our school buses and personnel, we were able to keep employed support staff in a meaningful way. As buses have not been running due to our continued virtual learning, we have been able to provide our hourly employees the continued benefit of work hours through this home delivery and packaging system.
Also, by having our staff help with the delivery, there has been a personal touch to the education of our children. Our principals, teachers, club advisors, and other staff have gone to our children’s home and delivered these Box Kits.
Principal of Camden’s Pride Charter Elementary School, Christa Hahn, said that the box kit deliveries helped create a sense of continued support for her students.
“It made us all smile the biggest smiles,” Hahn said. “We missed each other so much and gifting them a little something to show them how proud we were and how much they meant to us, allowed us all to take a deep breath and know we were all going to be there for each other.”
It wasn’t just the younger students who were excited about the deliveries, it was the older ones, too.
Camden Academy Charter High School principal, Dara Ash, expressed her joy from seeing her students’ joy from the Box Kits.
“Students were excited to see us especially and were appreciative of the awards and the extra special touch of the personal deliveries,” Ash said. “It brought joy to my heart to see the happy faces of my students.”
Our Box Kit approach has enabled us to have little moments made special and become a treasured part of our schooling experience. As we continue forward through this pandemic and into a more normal school year, we will need to assess what we learned and what practices we would like to continue.
Home deliveries and the personal relationship they build with our families is one such element we hope to continue beyond our current circumstances.
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