The second event in the the UnGala series of events, and the first Education Series panel, A School Through the Looking Glass, offered an intimate look into WITS partner school Walsh Elementary’s response to COVID-19 and remote learning. The panel featured a conversation with Principal Patricia Harper Reynolds, long-time Walsh Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Benes, parent and Pilsen local school council member Laura Mays, and her sixth grade twin sons Atticus and Elliot. The webinar was free for all and featured a live Q&A with Principal Reynolds and WITS CEO Tena Latona after the panel. The event was sponsored by longtime WITS corporate partners, Aon and William Blair.
During the panel, Principal Reynolds and Mrs. Benes discussed community building, remaining connected, and remaining consistent in the remote environment. The May Family shared some of their experiences with their home becoming a classroom, and the entire group reflected on redefining school and moments that have inspired and motivated them.
During the Q&A, Principal Reynolds gave some insights into supporting the youngest and most vulnerable students while continuing to build connection as a school community, mentioning that the students are her priority as she leads with compassion and understanding. Although teachers are professional educators, they are people too. Reynolds emphasized the importance of pausing to listen to what her teachers need.
In terms of community organizations supporting schools and students, Principal Reynolds underlined the value of differentiation in methods of delivery and customizable content. Teachers and parents are looking for resources, and organizations can help out by providing a variety of content forms and options.
Tena Latona shared WITS’ vision to maintain consistency and be there for our partner schools in a virtual space. Even though the horizon has changed drastically, we are still here. She commented on the ever-changing landscape of volunteerism and the focus on continuing to create one-on-one connections.
As the pandemic has altered the structure of school environments, students have lost many in-person connections with caring adults. WITS is working to address this by offering virtual programs connecting volunteers with students and continuing to ask questions and test the boundaries of what is possible.
WITS was proud to explore A School Through the Looking Glass…join us for future UnGala events!
Watch a recording of this event here.