Glimpses of EMS COVID-19 experience

By Andrea Schrock Wenger , Director of Advancement

Creative Classrooms
Teachers navigated PowerSchool Learning Management System, various video-making tools, Google Meet, Zoom, and other technologies to deliver creative content and engage with students 1:1 and in groups.
See videos from many of these activities on the EMS YouTube channel.

CLASS WORK INCLUDED:

  • A smoothie making lab in each person’s kitchen with Ms. Haarer
  • Watercolor tutorials using supplies picked up from school with Ms. Gascho
  • How to bake a cake, in Spanish, with Ms. Yutzy and Ms. Eshleman-Robles
  • Real-time AP Lit discussions with Ms. Cranston
  • Virtual field trips
  • Video messages from the principals
  • Elementary “show and tell” Zoom meetings
  • Google Meet math work groups
  • Presentations of work for peers
  • Sixth grade Friday challenges

PE at Home
EMS students stayed active through home-based “Olympics” events and challenges. Weekly videos featured interviews and demonstrations by alumni athletes, area coaches, and fitness experts. Students shared photos and videos with teachers and classmates.

A Lost Spring Sports Season
Golf, boys tennis, track and field, baseball, girls soccer…
Missing an entire season and thinking about what might have been was hard. Andrew Gascho, athletic director and girls varsity soccer coach, shared an Open Letter with Athletes, and the Daily News-Record ran a lengthy story about the potential of our girls varsity soccer season. See both at easternmennonite.org/news
Meade Slonaker was looking to repeat as individual golf champion in the VIC as well as VISAA. As a team, the boys were well positioned to make a run at both conference and state championships.
The lasting relationships and lessons learned from past seasons became the focus for coaches interacting with disappointed student athletes.

#FlamesStrong Together AND Apart
Teachers and staff shared images with each other from their home offices on the first day of online teaching.
Photos: (clockwise, from top left): Anna Haarer, family consumer science teacher, with Zoey; Maria Lorcas, strings teacher; Jennifer Young, PE, driver’s ed, and first aid teacher; Mr. Elliot, 5th grade assistant teacher; Susan Melendez, 6th grade teacher; Lizzy Miller, math teacher, with co-worker, Owen

Library Book Exchange

More than 60 students requested books – some as many as 20 titles – for the first library exchange day organized by librarian, Julianne Ross, April 29. A second exchange followed in May. Especially fun, said Ross, was filling requests for “surprise” books based on student interests. [Full story here]

Student Council Stays Active

SCO met weekly to keep the #FlamesStrong spirit high and share student perspectives with faculty sponsors and principals. See results of the Virtual Spirit Week on the playlist by that name on the EMS YouTube channel.

Faith Formation Continues

Faculty met to pray daily for students; counselors met 1:1 and with groups; students had drop in support groups; “mini chapels,” and online K-5 Gathering were posted; the girls varsity soccer team held Bible study; Bible classes continued. See examples at EMS YouTube.

Some Good News from EMES

Fifth grade students created their own version of the popular SGN (Some Good News) series with John Krasinski. SGN saw their Instagram post and wrote: “This is a teacher curriculum we can get behind!” Sample EMES learning videos, including the SGN segment, on YouTube. Search “Eastern Mennonite School.” [Full story here]

Virtual Choir Blesses 1,000s

In the early days of closure, Jared Stutzman produced a video with our choirs, inviting faculty, staff, and alumni to sing along. The message of John Bell’s “Don’t Be Afraid” resonated with more than 33,000 listeners online. Find the link on the EMS Touring Choir Facebook page and YouTube channel. [Full story here]

Service in Seclusion

Students in all grade levels served others even from home. Older elementary students read books on video to younger students. Others created handmade cards and wrote notes to first responders, health care workers, and residents of retirement communities. Sixth graders helped out by cooking, organizing cupboards, and taking care of younger siblings.

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