Morning announcements at Bay Schools are a fun part of eLearning routine

Bay High's Ground Control video announcements, anchored here by teacher Anne Ashley and counselor Kerry Walukas, mix mini-lessons, news and comedy.

Most of us can remember scooting into a school desk seat early in the morning. The tardy bell would ring, the teacher would make a sign to be quiet, and morning announcements would come over the public address system. It was a routine that let us know the school day had begun.

Fast forward to 2020, where students in the Bay Village Schools, like those throughout much of our country, now attend school virtually from their homes due to the COVID-19 virus. Social distancing has closed the school buildings and silenced those public address system. But thanks to the internet, students can begin their days watching videotaped morning announcements featuring their school principals, teachers and news about fellow students.

Normandy Elementary Principal Dan Sebring often tells a joke of the day, gives an update on the numbers of words students have read through their Accelerated Reader Program (it’s up past 37 million for this year), and reports on which students have decided to become experts in what. He might note that it’s a special day, like when he reminds students to wear their crazy socks for Wacky Wednesday.

“I’ve heard from many families that their child appreciated starting the day with morning announcements, just like we do in school,” said Mr. Sebring. “I think duplicating some of that same routine is helpful for students as they transition into learning at home.”

Principal Josie Sanfilippo at Westerly Elementary stands as she leads students in the Pledge of Allegiance. She announces numbers of words read and typing lessons completed. Recently students have been researching various Olympic sports and athletes, and Ms. Sanfilippo shares those topics and activities. She has also introduced her dog, Latte, and her daughter, Gabby, who is also doing her high school work from home.

“I know the children love to see their friends' faces and hear what everyone is working on,” said Ms. Sanfilippo. “We’ve heard that parents also enjoy the videos. I think it makes everyone feel connected even though we’re apart.”

At Bay Middle School, Principal Aaron Ereditario and Assistant Principal Tom Grodek make important announcements about school, like the planned full-class assemblies being held online using the Zoom conferencing program. They also share some fun interviews with teachers that explore information about them maybe no one at school knows. The program, as Mr. Ereditario reveals, is coming from “somewhere in Bay Village.”

Bay High’s student-run news program, Ground Control, still airs each day with teachers giving entertaining mini-lessons. The show might include an exercise of the day. Daily doses of poetry, French, Spanish, history, and math are creatively presented. Business and art tidbits have been featured. Students are sending in video features. And Assistant Principal Ramsey Inman interrupts the lighthearted programming with more serious information (although his dad jokes are slightly funny).

Mr. Luke Kieffer, technology education teacher at Bay High, made the decision to continue the program in spite of Bay High’s video studio being closed. “The staff and I made several segments before we left,” he said. “We also have students creating content and editing from home. I hope that this will be a great way to keep a sense of community in the school while we are away.”

Everyone longs for the day when the public address systems are fired up again as students listen in the physical presence of one another. Until then, the faces, personalities and caring come through the computer screen at the start of every eLearning day with morning announcements at the Bay Village Schools.

Karen Derby

Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 9:41 AM, 04.07.2020