July 28, 2020
Children around the world stopped attending school this spring, to shield them and their contacts from the Covid-19 virus. And while we don’t fully understand the susceptibility of children to catch and spread the virus, there are lots of opinions circulating about the wisdom of kids returning to in-class learning. But most experts agree that schools should open this fall to meet the critical educational and social needs of children.
We asked one of the teachers at Fox Ridge Middle School – the middle school that kids living in Southshore attend – what she thinks about kids returning to school this fall. “I think that it is absolutely valuable,” says Jami Hauter, who teaches seventh grade science at Fox Ridge.
“I think we need to get them back in the classroom – that’s where they learn the most.”
Jami feels that when kids go into the classroom, it feeds their social and emotional wellbeing – as well as provides the educational nourishment they need to succeed.
“When we did the online learning, we tried – as teachers – to throw in some activities. ‘Hey, you know what, guys, you’re in front of your computer all day. Let’s get you up!’” she said. They tried to infuse activity into the day, knowing children can’t be glued to an LED screen all day and not get distracted and wiggly.
But even those efforts had their limitations. “My seventh-grade science department put together some scavenger hunts for the kids, like, ‘go out and find this animal, or this symmetry’”, she said. “There were kids who did it, and then there were kids who weren’t allowed to leave the house, because that fear was very real at the time.”
Back-to-School at Fox Ridge
This year will admittedly be different as kids return to a classroom environment after sheltering-in-place at home. “I think kids are going to return to the school expecting normal, and things are not going to be normal this year,” she said.
Jami doesn’t know yet the guidelines teachers and students will be asked to adhere to, but is prepared keep kids safe, while making learning a primary focus. She’s confident the district will take the appropriate safety measures, she said, because “I don’t think that any kid is going to be successful in their learning if they’re feeling scared in class.”
Jami added that she has three of her own kiddos who will be returning to in person learning and has been priming them with conversations about what to expect and what to accept. “I tell my kids that we adults — as teachers, and as an administration in school buildings, and parents — are all going to do our absolute very best to make sure that kids are adhering to the policies,” Jami said.
And to her own kids Jami has added that if they feel unsafe because students around them are not following safety precautions, then a conversation with parents needs to happen. “Parents should do their best to make this part of their regular conversations with their kids when asking about their day at school. This conversation is going to be important this year, more than ever,” she said.
Getting Ready for the School Year
Putting aside the virus risk for a moment, we asked Jami what tips she could offer as an educator that would help parents begin to get kids ready to return to school in August.
“Like any school year,” she said, “it starts with that bedtime routine, right? Getting back on a schedule because we’ve been in this weird funk for so long,” she said. “So, starting to establish that bedtime routine, the wake-up routine, eating breakfast regularly. Things like that are important and it’s where I start in my own household, too,” Jami said.
“I think that the kids are really going to have to take accountability for their learning because things are going to be so different this year. And it goes down to that intrinsic motivation to want to learn,” she said. “They don’t always come to school with that attitude, and that’s why they have their teachers.”
Jami also noted it will be important for families to establish an area dedicated to learning in the home prior to the start of the school year, “one that is already prepped for last minute transitions to online learning if it becomes necessary.”
All things considered; Jami is feeling optimistic about the 2020-2021 school year.
“We’re going to make it work. I tell parents all the time when other adults put kids into this ‘kids are so disrespectful’ box, or ‘today’s kids don’t follow the rules’. I’m like, you know what? They tend to surprise you a lot of the time,” she said.
“I think that they’re going to show up, and they’re going to surprise us.”
Returning to Schools in Southshore
School-age kids in the master-planned community of Southshore attend Cherry Creek Schools – some of the highest-rated in the state. If your family is looking for the ideal community with plenty of recreational options and amazing amenities, explore the brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers. In Southshore. Life at the Lake offers floor plans for ranch and two-story models, priced between the $400s and the $700s.