Spann Elementary School - Pandemic Partnership Response
A contemporary song, Burn the Ships, topped the charts in Dec., 2019. Little did we know that it’d become an anthem for our 2020 educational endurance at Spann Elementary. “Step into a new day. We can rise up from the dust and walk away. We can dance upon the heartache.” Early in the pandemic we were one of the few schools in our state to lose a vivacious staff member to C-19. The story of this single mom with two daughters even made national news. Our beloved Northminster congregation paid $5,000 towards her funeral expenses. In the midst of grief, our staff & community partners joined together to do what Ms. Rollins would have wanted. We fought back, & we did so with a vengeance.
We fortified joint efforts to educate our students in the midst of unprecedented school closures. The stakes were too high if we did not. Beginning in the early spring of 2020, we collaborated with Northminster & Bellwether Community Church to launch a variety of critical interventions for our students’ families. Parents, staff members, neighbors, & a plethora of community volunteers teamed together to provide technological resources for students so they could attend virtual classes that teachers were learnng to design.
Because Spann has many children with reading challenges & those who don’t speak English at home, we had to connect with community organizations for literacy support. MS Children’s Museum had recently (fall, 2019) funded & served students & families via Planting the Seeds to Read program, & Jr. League of Jackson awarded over $20,000 in classroom grants. We worked tirelessly together via a multi-pronged approach to help Spann students stay the course of educational accomplishment & success even with schools shuttered. Ongoing efforts brought staff, partners, & concerned citizens together to supply a huge variety of educational resources (books, digital devices & creative sites, internet service). Our students needed to engage in face-to-face Zoom classes. Staff members spread the word for refurbished iPads and tablets.
As a unified front, we pressed mightily to provide online opportunities for students to participate in powerful, creatively designed learning sessions that focused on vital educational skills & emotional wellness. Partners paid for Wifi installations & virtual teaching materials. Libraries were closed, so we used Jr. League donations to provide students with children’s books to keep & read at home. For encouragement, students and staff were given gift cards to local restaurants & happy bags, & a class website was designed and launched. These powerful collective actions allowed alliances between home/school/community to make a tangible difference in the lives of our Spann family during those trying days. We clasped hands & did indeed “Rise up from the dust and walk away.” Because of our dedicated community partnership support, we truly found the courage do more than we ever thought possible & to dance upon the heartache. Our students are better for it.
(1) Northminster Baptist Church
(2) Bellwether Community Church
(3) Jr. League of Jackson
(4) Jackson Academy Praying Moms
(5) MS Children’s Museum
(6) Raising Cane’s