The Woodhull Intermediate School community has adapted well to the shift to distance learning necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While everyone wishes they could be inside the building and engaging in business as usual, teachers and students have worked hard to make the current circumstances as meaningful and successful as possible.
“At Woodhull, it’s no exaggeration when I say that our teachers have revolutionized teaching and learning during the past month,” Principal Lara Gonzalez said. “Our faculty members have reinvented themselves to meet the challenges of distance learning and have embraced technology in unprecedented ways.”
While the degree of change required has been immense, students have adapted remarkably well to the challenging situation the country and world finds itself in.
“Our teachers have prioritized keeping their relationships with students strong during these trying times and we routinely meet virtually to ensure that all of our students are connecting with their teachers and classmates via Google Classroom assignments, Google Meets and Chats and optional community-building activities,” Dr. Gonzalez said.
Woodhull Dean of Students Julian Watts and the school’s student support team created a Google Classroom for social-emotional learning. “Through this site, we are acknowledging students who have celebrated birthdays as well as students who have distinguished themselves for their efforts in participating in their online studies,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “Also via this Google Classroom, students have access to SEL curriculum from Sanford Harmony as well as a number of other wellness resources created by our staff members.”
A recent major initiative has involved inviting students to show their appreciation for Huntington healthcare workers via Flipgrid videos. “Incentives were given to encourage healthy class competition among fourth, fifth and sixth graders,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “Mr. Watts has been keeping tabs on which grade has the most submissions and will announce that information when the final product (a compilation of the video greetings) is released. We are so excited to share this special video appreciation with the Huntington community.”
Dr. Gonzalez has also created a Google Classroom she named Woodhull Reads. “So far, we have had over 20 staff members record themselves reading poetry for National Poetry Month,” she said. “Some of the poetry posted to the site includes original poems and poems in Spanish. There are many treasured poems from Shel Silverstein as well as a few classics such as ‘A Dream Deferred’ by Langston Hughes and ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost.”
About 250 students and staff members have joined the Woodhull Reads classroom. Students and adults are encouraged to comment on the postings. “We are looking for ways to involve more students and elicit more student voices each day in this endeavor,” Dr. Gonzalez said.
Everyone at Woodhull can’t wait to get back to a regular, on-site school program. When that will be is still undetermined. But when it’s announced, there will be many happy children.
“I could not be more proud of our students and staff at this time,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “We will continue to seek new ways provide the best educational experience possible for all of our students and to uplift our school community. It’s the Woodhull way!”