On the Coronavirus: A Principal's Tale
The coronavirus has been a thorn in the world’s side since the day it first appeared in China. I have heard many stories about how the general public has been dealing with this new and abrupt global situation.
For all of the information as we've been fed in the media, there is one part of the public we haven't heard from yet, some of whom happen to be located right here on campus. Sure, we've heard from many teachers and students about how they've been dealing with the pandemic, but what about the principals? They are the heads of schools and manage entire student bodies and staff. So, how have they been dealing with remote learning and the cancellation of so many extracurriculars?
Luckily, I've had the pleasure of interviewing APA's very own Mrs. Douglas-Jackson, and she gave me these wonderful and insightful responses.
HB: From last year, what lessons have you learned from being the principal of school during the coronavirus pandemic?
Mrs. DJ : I learned that I must be flexible and willing to make changes that are best for our community in a timely manner. I like to plan everything, but this pandemic showed me that many times you just have to be ready to adapt to your situation and make the best out of it.
HB: What do you consider to be the easiest and most difficult parts of the pandemic?
Mrs DJ: The easiest part for me has been adjusting to spending more time at home with my family. The most difficult part is the unknown. I cannot definitively say when it will end, so I have to be patient and expect for the best. To be honest, it has helped me appreciate everything in my life.
HB: As we move into Phase Three of reopening, what are you most looking forward to in the school year?
Mrs. DJ: I'm looking forward to seeing more students and watching our teachers and students come up with innovative ways to approach extra-curricular activities in the district. APA recently had a Virtual Broadway Night. Over 50 students participated and we raised over $1,000 for student activities. I love to see how our community is able to think of great ways to still keep students and families engaged.
HB: How do you keep the morale up among the students when they cannot perform their majors in front of a live audience?
Mrs. DJ: My entire staff is awesome! They get that this is hard for everyone. The most important thing that our staff does is keep positive. We make it a part of our school culture. When you enter our building, and exit, there is a hello and a smile. It is so important that we do not just talk about the power of positivity, but that we demonstrate it every day. This is especially true in our vocational classes. I think that the teachers learned from their experience in the spring. They have created relationships with outside resources that join APA in Zoom to give master classes. It keeps our students engaged and helps them make strong connections between what they are doing in class and what they can do in the future.
HB: Who do you look up to as a role model for handling the pandemic, and why?
Mrs. DJ: I look up to Lisa Tauscher, the principal at UCCTI. She had her students come back to campus earlier than we did, so it was nice to have her model an opening before we got started with the hybrid model.
HB: When the pandemic is completely resolved, how do you think this is going to change the future of education?
Mrs. DJ: We are going to see that little can get in our way. We have had to shift the way we see lessons, assessments, projects, etc… I think that many of the shifts that we have made can help us be better at our jobs in the future. Imagine, being able to get tutoring during [co-curricular] from a student on the other side of campus without you even having to leave your school. There are so many benefits. I envision that in the future, APA will be able to have live performances that we can stream out to a larger audience. Grandparents, aunts and uncles can enjoy performances from the comfort of their own homes, or in our theatre. That would be fantastic.