At Pace, we talk a great deal about our mission: To create prepared, confident citizens of the world. But what does that look like when conversations take place through screens rather than in person? When morning assemblies move online and advisory groups meet via Zoom?
The outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent implementation of remote learning have temporarily changed the way Pace students attend school, Pace teachers teach and the Pace community comes together. Despite our distance, we have discovered that we are, in fact, fulfilling our mission. Our community has rallied together in the midst of this global crisis and responded like true citizens of the world by making education and genuine connection possible via digital platforms.
Third-grade teacher Patrice Wright-Lewis incorporates themes into her daily class Zoom meetings—Friday is “Bring a Parent to Morning Meeting” day. “I also have several touchpoints throughout the day, including small groups, office hours and a closing circle,” she says. Lower School art teacher Molly Hurd offers an optional daily art class to all Lower School students, and other teachers and parents have joined the fun.
In the Middle School, eighth-grade science teacher Kelly Colquitt takes lessons outside whenever possible and checks on students’ emotional well-being at the start of every class. Seventh-grade English teacher Kate Tornusciolo’s students are taking part in a virtual debate this week: ”This could be great or a disaster, but in the end, it is something we've created and experimented with together,” she reports.
Librarians in the Woodruff Library offer after-school hang-out sessions for Upper School students in the virtual Lower Library; the chess club hosts online lessons and tournaments every afternoon; and today, Upper School teacher Allison Riley’s C-period Spanish class “traded songs and generally had a great time being together,” she says. “[Freshman] Jack Schmitt took us out by playing the piano. It lifted my spirits a lot.”
“Over the past two weeks, we have seen our community exemplify what it means to be Pace Knights,” says Lower School Director of Student Life Kacy Brubaker. “Teachers, students and parents have been positive, flexible and cooperative. Families have leaned into remote learning with curiosity and patience and trusted that the teachers have their children's best interest at heart, and teachers have done all they can to keep their students a priority by providing a sense of routine and normalcy to the best of their ability.”
So, thank you, Pace Knights and citizens of the world, for embracing our new (virtual) reality! Please continue to share your photos and stories using #pacecandothis. We can do this!