Salisbury Academy: Thriving Through these Unprecedented Times
We are well into this academic school year and Salisbury Academy has put both safety and education first. It is no secret that the pandemic has made us more cautious while having to continue on with those things that are required such as education.
Salisbury Academy has been thriving and seeing that their students are provided a quality education throughout this pandemic. Betty Fowler, Head of School, explains that what has worked well has been remaining flexible and willing to adapt and reinvent their model with a student-centered design as the goal has allowed students and staff to experience the growth and connection of in-person learning. Salisbury Academy has done an exceptional job with creating outdoor spaces that focus on being educated outside of the classroom and has also allowed the school to build on their NC Green School Foundation.
RELATIONSHIPS EQUAL CONNECTIONS
Salisbury Academy has developed strong relationships between the students and teachers especially during this time. This shows that those relationships are an essential component to how they navigated through the challenges of education during this pandemic year. They have been grateful for the support from the local health department and other community partners, which has been essential to the success of this year. Lizzy Roy, Director of Marketing and Communications, stated, “We’ve remained nimble and wiling to adjust our program to meet the needs of our students and families.”
Roy has been most impressed with the support, willingness, and dedication of the community to go above and beyond for the sake of education. Teachers and staff support one another, stepping in as needed to assist with new roles and demands, and students are especially appreciative of their time with their teachers and peers learning in-person on campus.
“In a normal school year, we have always been impressed and grateful for the education our children are receiving at Salisbury Academy. The teachers and staff are not only providing an excellent education, but they also care about the emotional and character development of our children. In this challenging time, these qualities have carried on amazingly. Looking back, we could not have made a better choice for our children’s education,” said Maria Vandergriff Avery.
According to Ms. Roy, the challenges presented by COVID-19 required a significant amount of innovation, whether though utilizing space on campus, accommodating for social distancing in our daily routines, community education, or a number of other adaptations. Salisbury Academy’s staff were dedicated and ensured that their students would rise to the challenge.
Salisbury Academy did not hesitate when thinking of ways to remain safe while providing a quality education for their students. The following include some of the physical changes that were made in order to follow the safety guidelines and reassure families their children’s health was just as important as their education:
- Redrawn campus classroom layout with gym repurposed as classroom(s) and other shifting/re-purposing as needed
- Implementation of a vast set of health protocols, from screening to symptom handling, to deep cleaning and sanitation.
- Masking and social distancing
- Supporting families unable to have their students attend in person through our “Engage from Home” programming
- Our team has adapted to expand the ways in which we connect and share information, whether through E-Learning Days and the programming to support them, virtual events such as weekly chapel and Grandpersons Day, or community connections through virtual speakers and labs.
- School parents have shown their gratitude in creative and thoughtful ways, surprising faculty and staff with signs of gratitude around campus, delivering treats and pick-me-ups, and drawing chalk messages of encouragement on walkways.
As challenging as this year has been, Roy admits that it’s been beautiful to witness how trying times can make a school community’s passion shine and uplift the shared dedication of our students, teachers, parents, and staff. “Thanks to the creativity and collaboration of our teachers and resilience of our students and families, students have continued to grow academically, socially, and emotionally in a healthy environment. Open and swift communication between the school and our families has enabled us to handle exposures, testing, and other aspects of COVID-19 effectively and while maintaining the health and safety of our students and staff. “
Salisbury Academy has parents who are ecstatic about the staff and how accommodating they have been as they meet the needs of students and families. Matthew and Janeria McCullough, parents, indicated Salisbury Academy has the most nurturing teachers.
“Thank you, SA teachers and staff, for your commitment to student learning. The tremendous effort shown during uncertain times allowed our son to continue learning seamlessly and at a high level. SA teachers are awesome!”
The traditional way of obtaining an education has definitely changed. This pandemic has caused teachers to rethink the way they teach so students will continue to learn. Salisbury Academy has shown what it means to thrive as they watched our community suffer losses that seemed unbearable. Take a look at this recent faculty spotlight video where Salisbury Academy highlights some of the ways their teachers have overcome challenges this year: