Parent representatives from across Eastern Mennonite elementary, middle and high school divisions invested time, insight, encouragement and prayer for the school during the COVID-19 time of distance learning. Delivering “thank you” yard signs to teacher and staff homes at the end of the school year was their most visible sign of support.
“Parent input was crucial in our success as a learning community these past weeks,” said Maria Archer, K-8 principal. “They let us know what was working and what wasn’t working, shared ideas and helped us be in this all together.”
“We parents know this has been really hard for teachers,” said Michelle Weaver, parent of two EMS students and two alumni. “It almost felt seamless when we had to move to online learning. The teachers made sure our students were still learning, checking in and making sure they had the support we needed.”
It was really significant, Weaver said, that “Maria and Justin [King, high school principal] met with the parent rep group every week. That showed their willingness to hear from parents and take us seriously.”
“We just wanted to share a visible thank you.” The parent rep group delivered 66 signs to the homes of all teachers, as well as administrators and support staff as far south as Staunton and north to Broadway and Timberville.
“Highlight of my day!” wrote Anna Haarer, family and consumer science teacher when she posted her sign on Facebook. “Thank you to whoever put this sign in my yard today. I am truly blessed with a great community of students, parents, faculty and staff! #blessedteacher #FlamesStrong”
Debbie Katz, high school counselor, shared similar sentiments in her Facebook post, “Feeling the love from my school’s wonderful and thoughtful parents! ❤️ #FlamesStrong”
More than 50 parents took part in Zoom parent forum session hosted by Paul Leaman, head of school, the last week of school. The six sessions included debriefing about the past months of online learning, an update from Dr. Leaman about potential scenarios for the coming school year, and review of suggestions and ideas from parents.