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The 2020-21 school year is about to begin and it will be the first time back in our buildings in almost six months for students, teachers and some District staff.

On this episode of the Supercast, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey visits several classrooms and talks to teachers who say they are ready to let the learning begin, even though the learning may look and feel a little different this year.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey:
Hello, and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. The 2020-21 school year is about to begin and it will be the first time back in our buildings in almost six months for students, teachers, and some District staff. How is everyone preparing as we face the changes brought on due to the pandemic? I headed out to some schools and talk to teachers who say they are ready to let the learning begin again, even though that learning may look and feel a little different this year. We're here at Heartland Elementary School in a first grade classroom with Susan Call, as she prepares for the school year. Susan, thanks for talking with me.

Susan:
Happy to.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Your class looks very well organized, very neat. And you have a desk between desks so that students are at least one desk apart. Now that you've been in your classroom a little bit, you've looked around, you've set things up. How are you feeling about the start of the year?

Susan:
More comfortable than I was. I'm still a little bit nervous because first graders are unpredictable and they'll do their thing, but we're really good at learning and training. And we're just going to learn to keep in our own space and take care of our own supplies

Superintendent Godfrey:
And taking care of your own supplies and keeping in your own space is kind of something that we try to help first graders do in the first place, but we have all pictured the lower grades and the younger kids in this pandemic. And we're trying to keep social distancing in place. We've all thought of you as we've looked through these plans. What are some of the things that you've done to prepare? What are some of the routines you're thinking of for students?

Susan:
We're thinking of hand-washing and you can't rush 20 seconds. So we're figuring out how to send two to the boys bathroom, a girl to the bathroom and one at the sink. We're thinking of how to get to lunch and just every little thing. I had one little first grader come already because of some health issues. And the first thing he did was want to touch everything and that's how we learn or tactile. So just that discussion of we can't touch things and maybe have to put their hands behind their back. I don't know. We'll figure out as we go, how to teach them.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And like you said, I think there's a lot, we'll be figuring out as we go. I think a lot of the stress has been anticipation because we don't know exactly how things are going to feel once we actually have students here. That's what I've asked. I've talked with people, that's what they felt like, what you described. I come in the classroom, I feel differently now that I'm here. And then, once the kids come, I think that will be another stage, right? Are there some of the routines that you normally do that you aren't going to be able to do in order to keep kids at a distance?

Susan:
We have. We try to teach to share in first grade and we're not sharing this year. I've got books, they can read a book and put it back. But this year we read a book and we put it in the timeout place so that our neighbor's not reading the same book. We usually love to lay on the rug while we read books and it won't be that. We'll do more time at our desks than normal and we've spaced out at the floor. So even traffic patterns, small groups will be smaller groups.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I never thought about the sharing aspect of things. We may have a generation of kids that grows up not wanting to share. As I was sitting in a meeting, we were socially distanced in our meeting, but we kind of talked about the fact that now our personal space has grown personal space. May never shrink down to what it was before, but first graders, what kind of personal space do they normally have?

Susan:
They love each other. They hug each other, they hold hands on the way to recess, you know, and they share everything. So, it's that kindness that kids already have in them, you know, they don't want to see their friends sad. They want to help them. And sharing, we'll just have to teach a new way to show how we care.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How do you feel as you think about the school year coming? How would you describe the way you're feeling anticipating that?

Susan:
When I think too much about it, it kind of is a little bit overwhelming because we're adding routines and adding to our day and yet still trying to get all our learning in. But I sat down yesterday and on Skyward looked at their little kindergarten pictures and they are adorable, so that made me excited. And then I have a little girl in my class that I taught her big brother seven years ago. And when they got pregnant with this little girl, it was a miracle and they were so excited. So I get her this year and I thought, that's a happy thing to me. I know her mom. And so I'm really excited about that. So as I looked at their little pictures and read their names and see when their birthdays are, they there are people again, and I'm so excited. I'm really excited to really teach in-person and not to look at this little pictures on a screen.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I can totally understand that once they feel, not just these generic students who are going to be in my class, but real kids that need you.

Susan:
Yes and I need them. So, I feel like a better teacher when I can look in their eyes and we can do it again because they didn't get it or whatever we need to do. So, I'm way more excited than when I was going through the "Oh now, what are we going to do?" When I started looking at them, I'm excited.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And you make a great point. There's no feedback like being right there, watching the child and you can sense if they get it, they don't get it, they're frustrated, and you can act on that as a teacher. And that's such a key element  of a great teacher. And you obviously are a great teacher, just knowing how to connect to the needs of the child right in front of you.

Susan:
Well, we laughed this spring when we were teaching online because you couldn't say, "Okay, sit right here and stop that". You know they were talking, they were showing you their toys. One went and got her pet bird and I sat it on her shoulder, and then we couldn't learn anything because we had to talk about birds. So you know, that kind of stuff, and there's funny parts of it, makes it a whole new ball game.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Do you think that's going to be challenging for students who have been used to learning in that way, in their own space, to now come, especially young students who haven't been training on how to be in school all day for very long. In fact, for first grade, they never have been in all day. Is it going to be particularly challenging when they've been gone for so long?

Susan:
I think definitely, they haven't had to be in one spot probably at home. Some of them, that I did already talk to, said they haven't gone anywhere. So his mom said, "Well, we took him to the store so he could see other people." And so, I think we're going to have the kids who've been starting to see other people and the kids who haven't because they've just been being very careful, as they should be with them. So there might be different areas of comfort and there may be, "I can't touch you", which we don't want him to. I don't know what all we're going to get, but, we deal with personalities every year anyway. So this is just another layer of it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Spoken like a true first grade teacher that's just ready to take on whatever comes her way. Thank you for taking the time Susan and those students are lucky to be in your class this year.

Susan:
I am lucky to have them. So thank you.

Superintendent Godfrey:
All right. We're here with Amelia Paasi in her sixth grade classroom at Heartland elementary on the cusp of a new school year, to talk with her just about how she's feeling and how she's preparing. Thanks for joining us on the Supercast today.

Amelia:
Thank you.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Tell me a little bit about how you are feeling about the coming school year. It's coming next week. What are your thoughts?

Amelia:
Honestly, initially my thoughts are that I'm just a little exhausted with everything because I know there's so much more I need to do and there's not enough time in the day. However, I am grateful we got that extra week from the school board to plan and prepare. I might've had tears of joy for that. So, there's a little bit of exhaustion, but also anxiousness. That's just natural. I'm anxious for the kids. I'm anxious to see them. Some of it's positive. I don't want to get COVID. So, I want to follow those policies and procedures and implement them from day one so that my students are safe and secure and then healthy.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So, there's a lot to think about. And there's always a lot to think about before the school year starts, but this year there's just layer upon layer of other things to be worried about. And you've described that well. We're all feeling that I think, the exhaustion and the anxiety, but also anticipation. Now, I understand that you've worked with some students because you're over a student government group. Tell us a little bit about that and then how it felt to have some students back.

Amelia:
Yeah. Mr. Alger, my principal, reached out to me over the summer about coming up with our student ambassador, student government group to make videos to welcome faculty and students back into the building and just do some how-to videos on how to wash our hands, how to follow the new policies and procedures in our building. And it was so amazing to see the kids and have them come in. They all wear their mask. I didn't have to get on them to have their mask. They were ready, they were prepared. So that helped with my initial anxiety that they were already prepared. Their parents had prepared them. They were ready to come back and to see them, it was just hard not to give them hugs and not be able to.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We will definitely have a pent up desire for hugs that will need to be addressed in the future. All of us are there. Some routines that you're going to have to cut out, maybe some cherished activities or some things that you normally do or procedures you normally have in place that are going to have to be put on hold while all of this is underway.

Amelia:
So, thankfully I work on a team where we work really well together and the things that we might've done last year, instead of saying we can't do them, we're just trying to reinvent a new way of doing them. So instead of having the kids filling out papers after papers, we've made Google docs so they can have their Chromebook and have minimal touch so I'm not handing out papers and coming up into their bubbles. We've worked really hard on having a different mindset as far as thinking we can't do these things anymore. We just have to do them in a different environment or different media.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What are you most excited about as the school year comes?

Amelia:
Honestly, the most exciting thing will be seeing the kids, even though they're behind a mask, even though I can't, give them those hugs, I still am excited to see the kids. They are why I get up every day.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What are some unanswered questions for you that might not be able to be answered until we actually have students back in the building?

Amelia:
So many question that I currently have. How  it's going to look for the students and how I can ease their anxieties. That's something my team and I have been talking about a lot today. How we can make it appear like we, our anxieties are gone so that they are excited and anxious to be here in a positive way. And so, all the questions that we can think of, or just the how-tos and how to make it feasible for the kids to have the best experience for them to feel safe and welcomed back here at school

Superintendent Godfrey:
You've hit on another thing that makes teachers great. That is constantly being aware of how their students are doing. Are they making friends? Are they comfortable? Are they happy? Are they learning? Did they get that? Have I celebrated that learning? And it's just those questions and that constant wondering about how people are doing that really drains you by the end of the day, but is exhilarating too, to be able to do that.

Amelia:
It's important to remember that at the end of the day, everyone that got into education, it was all about the students. And so we have to put our own insecurities and feelings of anxiousness or whatever we're feeling aside and know that the reason why I'm doing face-to-face is not for me, it's for the kids. And sometimes that's hard with all the unknowns for ourselves, but imagine being 12, coming back to school or five, and it's your first year or a senior in high school. I can't fathom what it's like as a student today.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It's great having the chance to talk with you. I wish you the best of the school year and those kids are lucky.

Amelia:
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Stay with us. We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, a first year teacher talks about beginning her classroom career during the pandemic,

Sandra Reisgraf:
Are you looking for a job right now, looking to work in a fun and supportive environment with great pay and a rewarding career? Jordan School District is hiring. We're currently filling full and part time positions. You can work and make a difference in young lives and education as a classroom assistant or a substitute teacher, apply to work in one of our school cafeterias where lunch staff serves up big smiles with great food every day. We're also looking to hire custodians and bus drivers in Jordan School District. We like to say, "People come for the job and enjoy the adventure". Apply today at workatjordan.org.

Now, I'm with Haydee Carranza, in her fourth grade classroom. Haydee is a first year teacher. Thanks for taking time to talk with us. You picked quite a year to start this noble profession.

Haydee:
Yeah, it just happened. It wasn't the plan, but no one was expecting it. No one was planning for it, but here I am. I'm just trying to work hard, just like everyone else.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What are your thoughts as you approach your first school year as a teacher?

Haydee:
I just want to do what's best for the students. I know that their education is important and COVID or no COVID, their future is our future and their education needs to continue. So I I'm here to do the best that I can with what we are given and hope for the best.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How are you feeling about just starting out?

Haydee:
It is a new area. I've been teaching in the same school as a parent educator for 18 years and so it became my home. This is a new district, it's a new classroom, new area, new students. So, I'm the new kid on the block, just trying to get to know all the teachers and all the new procedures, the new classrooms, everything's done differently. I've already learned that every school does things a little differently. You know, because we're trying to do the best for our local communities and just trying to learn it on top of it this pandemic, it has just added more to the changes. But I have a great team. I have a great principal, great school. So, I feel confident that with everyone's support ,I'm going to get through it. It is a little scary or nerve-wracking with everything that's happening, but I am hopeful that we'll get through it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, I know Heartland Elementary and I know you do have great teachers around and a great principal to support you. And that's really what we try to be about is providing support. Have you always wanted to be a teacher?

Haydee:
Yeah, I've always known I wanted to be a teacher. I remember playing in our basement. We didn't have a lot growing up. We lived by Liberty Park. It was a low income area. All four of us kids slept in the same bedroom. It was really small, but our basement was our classroom. We would play school a lot. I would be the teacher. I would try and model whatever my teacher would do. And, in fact, my mom says that my brother learned how to read before kindergarten because I taught him.  And then, in junior high I volunteered at different schools and their after-school programs, tutoring students. And when I got into high school, I did a little more tutoring. But as my homework load got bigger, you know, I couldn't do it as much. As soon as I graduated from high school because of my volunteer work, They hired me as a para-educator with the ESL students. And after school I would volunteer and I worked with the cultural assembly at one of the high schools. And I taught Mexican folk dancing for a few years when I was 18. I also did some GED classes in math in Spanish for a few years. And then I've been to a few elementary schools also in the Granite School District where I taught on Mexican folk dances. I've always enjoyed working with kids. I've always known that's what I wanted to do to make a difference. And I feel like teaching is a way to make a difference.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Fourth grade is a big leap for kids. It's where they really accelerate their learning. I'm excited that they get to do that with you. You were a student for 12 years and now, for 18 years you've been a classroom assistant. So, you've really had 30 years of observing teachers before you teach yourself.

Haydee:
Yes. I've learned from a lot of teachers, a lot of strategies. And I've even learned from the parents in my community. I've learned the importance of communicating with them so that I can learn what it is that each of my students need. I think one of the most important things is that communication and building that team effort. And if you look around my classroom, that's kind of my theme. I want my students to know that we're all in this together. When we work as a team, we're helping each other as a classroom, but working as a team also helps the individual. That's what I'm trying to teach them. In addition to their academic, I think working together, building community is also important to be successful in life.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, I can tell you're going to be a great teacher and that these fourth graders are going to have a great year with you. So thanks for taking the time and best of luck as you launch into this career.

Haydee:
Thank you.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Thanks to all of our teachers for adapting during the pandemic for their hard work and preparing for the new school year and for their love for the students we serve.

Please listen to a bonus episode of the Supercast this week. As we sit down with principals and counselors to find out how they are doing, as we prepare to open schools during a pandemic. Thanks to all of you for listening. And remember, education is the most important thing today. We'll see you.

 

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Serving students with special needs is something many educators in Jordan School District are passionate about. On this episode of the Supercast, we hear about the amazing work being done to take care of students with special needs, especially during a pandemic.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey:
Hello, and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today, we hear about some of the amazing work being done every day in Jordan School District to take care of students with special needs, especially during a pandemic. We have Kim Lloyd, Director for Special Education. Kim, welcome on the program.

Kim:
Thank you.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Later on, we have the chance to speak with Susie Cuzme, who is a teacher at Kauri Sue Hamilton School. But before we talk with Susie, I wanted to talk with Kim and give our listeners a bit of an idea of what Special Education involves in Jordan School District. You have gone to a lot of work, along with your staff, to help continue to provide services for students with disabilities through the soft closure in the spring, and I know you're doing a lot to gear up for the fall and it's complicated because you're meeting a wide variety of needs and expectations. And so, I just know you've put a lot of work into that, and I really appreciate what you and your staff have been doing.

Kim:
Thank you. Our staff has put a lot of time, effort and energy into meeting the needs of students, as well as following guidelines.

Superintendent Godfrey:
There are a lot of protections in place for students with disabilities, as there should be. And as a result, we put plans together as a District for providing an education, and then your team and our Special Education teachers and specialists, take it from there to be sure that they're able to meet IEP goals, based on what we're doing for the general population of students.

Kim:
We do. We have teacher specialists that work with teachers on how to meet those goals and how to follow the procedures of IEP and meet the overall federal guidelines from IDEA, which is the federal law that we work in under Special Ed. There are several things we had to come up with on how to hold IEP meetings at a distance, how to sign IEP meetings, evaluations that we had to defer until we could have that face-to-face with kids. Now we are also currently working on how to come back to school and provide those services, keeping our staff and students as safe as possible.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And there's a big compliance element, always to Special Education, but it goes well beyond that. It goes to just caring about these kids and their needs and making sure that the momentum that has been created by teachers isn't lost and that learning continues and kids continue to feel cared for and receive the support that they need to learn at the very best levels they can.

Kim:
Yes. And compliance is a big piece of that. Like you said, our teachers love our students. They care about our students. They want the best for our students. There are those compliance pieces that we do need to stay within the law on. We do need to make sure that our students are evaluated, that they're meeting our IEP goals, that they have data to say that either we need to change IEP goals or we need to meet and change those IEP goals so that they're more relevant to students. The documentation, all of our testing, all of our related services. We've had to come up with creative ways to meet those online and make sure that kids were making progress as much as possible online. We're also spending a large amount of time trying to come up with how we're going to come back to school and keep all of our students safe, our staff safe, and everybody able to learn.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It's a big task. And I know that most people probably don't realize the wide range of specialists that are hired by Jordan District to help students with various needs. Can you even just rattle off a list of some of the different positions that we have in the Special Education Department, out in our schools to help students?

Kim:
I am happy to rattle off that list and I know I will miss somebody somewhere, but I am happy to rattle off that list. We serve kids in Jordan School District from birth until 21 because we have the Early Intervention Program. So, we have people that are going out into homes. We have preschool from three to five years of age, so we have preschool teachers. We have our programs that are K-12 programs. We have mild, moderate, we have severe programs. We have an Autism cluster. We have some of our more severe cluster classrooms and teachers. We have OT, which is occupational therapists. We have Physical Therapists, we have Audiologists. We have school psychologists that provide guidance and mental health support. We have teachers of vision impaired kiddos. We have teachers of hearing impaired kiddos. We have orientation and mobility. We have interveners for our students that are deaf and/or blind.We have Adaptive PE teachers. We have assistants to our occupational therapist and motor skill providers that work with our occupational therapists and our physical therapists. We have behavior specialists. We have behavior teachers. We have a whole host of folks that work with, and I'm hoping I didn't miss anybody. We also have teachers and teacher specialists, SLPs, which are Speech and Language Pathologists. All those folks work together with families, they work together with teachers. They work together with administrators and they work to ensure that our kids have the opportunity to learn and that they're providing an education. And all of people, and across our District, we have amazing people that care about kids.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's absolutely true. We have lots of great people working really hard with a wide variety of expertise that they bring to it. We are going to be talking with Susie Cuzme at Kauri Sue Hamilton School. And I just wanted you to give a little bit of background on some of the Special Education Schools that we have in the District as well. We have three. Tell everyone about that.

Kim:
We have three schools. We have, South Valley School, which is our school for our post high. In that school, we have a variety of programs to help our adult students transition into community-based programs and into daily living programs, some into group homes, some into higher education programs. We have River's Edge, which has intensive behavioral support for our students that need that additional behavior support so they function better in a classroom that has the expert faculty to work with behaviors. We also have Kaurie Sue Hamilton, which is a school that really focuses on our students with our more severe, medically fragile, orthopedic impairment types of disabilities. And they really work with a variety of kids with more severe disabilities. And they also work with kids from preschool. Our preschool is housed at Kauri Sue, but works for kids from 5 to 21. And they work with everything from academics, daily living, feeding, community-based programs, communication. You name it, they do a great job with it. All of our schools do. All three of our schools are amazing and do a great job.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I'm very proud of the work that our folks do and of the schools and programs that we have in place.

Kim:
Thank you. We do have something to be very proud of. How are our teachers work with families, how they work with kids, how they work with each other and with administration, we do amazing things out there. We have amazing families that we work with.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back, we'll hear about the passion and love one Special Education Teacher has for her job and her students. Susie Cuzme joins us next.

Sandra Reisgraf:
Are you looking for a job right now? Looking to work in a fun and supportive environment with great pay and a rewarding career? Jordan School District is hiring. We're currently filling full and part time positions. You can work and make a difference in young lives and education as a classroom assistant or a substitute teacher. Apply to work in one of our school cafeterias where our lunch staff serves up big smiles with great food every day. We're also looking to hire custodians and bus drivers. In Jordan school District, we like to say, "People come for the job and enjoy the adventure". Apply today at workatjordandistrict.org.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We are here with Susie Cuzme, a teacher at Kauri Sue Hamilton School. She was one of the Jordan Education Foundation Teachers of the Year for Jordan School District. Susie, thanks for joining me on the Supercast.

Susie:
Thanks so much for having me.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It's a thrill to get the chance to talk with you. We have over 3,000 teachers in Jordan District, as you know, and very few get this award. And you were one of those who received it this year. It was so fun to be a part of the Zoom meeting when those awards were given and to see the enthusiasm from your colleagues. And we got to meet your parents on there, as well.

Susie:
I know, that was pretty special. My school really goes above and beyond to show how much we're appreciated. They definitely did that, bringing my parents in.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah, they said that you are their greatest work, greatest accomplishment. So that's pretty awesome, and I don't disagree. That's  wonderful thing. Now, you have not always been a teacher. You came from another career, is that right?

Susie:
Yes. I came from a background of a mix of jobs, actually. I have a degree in psychology and I've worked in market research. Then I had gotten laid-off and I decided I would just only do work that I was passionate about, which, not having determined my passions, just ended up being a lot of little jobs. It wasn't until I went back to grad school for Speech Therapy that I ended up finding myself in education.

Superintendent:
Well, I'm glad that you found your way to us. Tell us about your role at Kauri Sue Hamilton School, but first, many people may not know Kauri Sue Hamilton School and what it's all about. So can you tell us a little bit about that and then about your role?

Susie:
Yes, so, the Kauri Sue Hamilton School. We describe it here in Utah as a center-based school. It is a public school in the Jordan School District and it's for all the students with multiple and severe disabilities. So a lot of times when I'm talking about where I work and I say that, people say, "Oh, okay, you work with students who have Autism". And I say, yes, but maybe take the student that you know has a diagnosis of Autism and multiply it. Most students have a lot of disorders that range from Cerebral Palsy, seizure disorders, genetic disorders, like fragile X or Angelman's and ones that are just so rare, globally, that there's less than 10 people around the world that have that diagnosis. And those are the kinds of students that we are serving at Kauri Sue.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And what is your specific role in helping those students?

Susie:
I am a Speech Language Pathologist, or as a lot of parents like to say, a Speech Therapist at the school. I am on a phenomenal team that consists of two other speech therapists, a speech technician and an assistant. And between our team, we serve the majority of students at the school. So, that's around 200 kids with multiple and severe disabilities.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And if you want to talk about a school with diverse needs, that is a school with diverse needs. I had the chance to be part of the Christmas Concert this year that we've been able to see year after year. The kids from Kauri Sue Hamilton School come and perform at the District Offices every Christmas. And they asked me to sit in on guitar and that was really, really fun. You kind of get to know the kids a little bit better, and what I love is that it's obvious the school finds ways for every kid to find their own kind of success, based on their needs and their abilities.

Susie:
Yeah, I think that's one of the things that I love about my job, that the student population is so diverse and it's not a "one size fits all". So specifically, in terms of communication and speech therapy, in a typical school, you might have students who have an Arctic problem and you do your Arctic therapy and kids make progress, and then you graduate them. And it's great. And you can kind of do the same therapy with each student, but at Kauri Sue Hamilton, we have kids who are using picture symbols, they're using iPad tablets, they're using Samsung tablets. They might be using phones or eye gaze or switches. Every student's needs are just so unique. And we do have to capitalize on how they can express themselves and how we can help them make the progress they need for that individual student.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What is it that makes you passionate about working with students at Kauri Sue Hamilton School? It's obvious that you're passionate about helping them and that you love it.

Susie:
I think what I love is the new challenges that come up every day. It's not the same. I kind of pictured myself working as an SLP in a school where you could do that Arctic therapy and he acts great because you see the kids make progress. And we don't see that really quick progress at Kauri Sue. It's a unique place where everyday I get to problem solve. I get to learn something new. I get to have so many different tools in my toolbox that I think a lot of other people in education just don't necessarily get the opportunity to build, because what they're working works great, but what we have to do at Kauri Sue, and what I have to do is come up with new tools and new tricks on a daily basis. Sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis. I've got to change up my lesson plans super fast. And I think it's just really fun and engaging for me to have that kind of work.

Superintendent Godfrey:
You probably are never looking at the clock to see how soon the day's going to be over. I'll bet it flies by.

Susie:
Oh yes, it does. The days are super, super fast and super fun. We do these large group lessons and we are singing and dancing. And when kids do something they're supposed to, everyone just goes nuts. It's really fun. And you are never looking at the clock.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. So, would you talk about new tools and new new methods and always having to adapt on-the-fly? I guess that's been preparing you for what was coming this year with our soft closure, because you've had to be flexible and nimble for a long time now.

Susie:
Yeah. Yeah. It's actually, been really interesting for us to take what we've learned and to apply it to the virtual learning setting. I think one thing that came out that's just really odd is that we had received a Grant in the fall and purchased a bunch of table mounts to hold on iPads up for students who maybe didn't have good, fine motor function to activate an iPad in their lap, or needed it propped up for vision. And now we're actually able to loan out those table tablet holders to families so that they can use it as the second eye for their student who is accessing a device. So, in these virtual settings, we need to actually see what the student is doing in addition to seeing the student and being able to get that Grant and have this equipment and loan it out to families has been enormously helpful for some of our students during this time.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Not only is everyday learning very different at Kauri Sue Hamilton School, but online learning is very different as well.

Susie:
Yes. Online is very different as well. I would agree because not every kid needs those two angles. Most kids can sit and pay attention, hopefully, and engage, but we have to bring things up on the screen and keep kids watching and make sure we're the most interesting thing.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And with a school where there's an IEP and a complex IEP for every student, there's a lot of needs to try to meet. I just, I can't even imagine how complex that task must be.

Susie:
Yes. We've had great collaboration at our school. We've really tried to work with the occupational therapists to figure out what words are they targeting. Can they link it to a classroom lesson? Or if PT has a goal at home for a student to be on a bike, maybe that's the word that we target in our virtual speech lessons. So we're always trying to talk to each other. It's a real interdisciplinary approach for our kids so that we're hitting on their IEP goals and we're also helping to generalize those skills from each of those disciplines, academic, physical therapy, occupational therapy, music, even PE too.

Superintendent Godfrey:
You talked about a misconception earlier, about maybe the needs of students at Kauri Sue Hamilton School. Are there other misperceptions about  what an SLP does or what Kauri Sue Hamilton School is like that you would share with parents or those who are listening?

Susie:
Yes. I think the biggest shocker when I keep talking about my school to other people is when I explained to them that 90% of the kids on my caseload are non-verbal. So even when you explain that these are kids with severe disabilities, they're profound disabilities. People still don't quite have a grasp on what the abilities of these students are, and so it takes a lot of description to help them understand. But on that note, it's also incredible to describe what our students are able to do. I've had a student for the past couple of years where someone said, "Oh, I don't think they can do eye gaze. You should pick someone else". And I said, "No, I really think this kid is using his eyes to communicate". And low and behold, we're now getting him funded for a dedicated diabetes device. And that's an incredible feeling to have.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's really exciting. Tell me more about an eye gaze device. What exactly does that do?

Susie:
Our students can communicate in a variety of ways. Those with significant physical impairments, students who are mostly wheelchair for all activities of daily living, who might not be able to use their hands to do anything or have good head control. There are high tech eye gaze devices. These were really cool. Years ago, we didn't have have tablets, But there are now devices that are tablets that you can mount in front of a person in a wheelchair. And it'll bring up a grid of buttons that have vocabulary on them. It can be a single word vocabulary, or it can be phrases, and the technology is such that a person just has to look in a certain spot, maybe for a certain period of time, like half a second or more, and then there's almost a cursor effect where it'll click on that button and the device will speak the message on that button.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's really something. So as a Speech Language Pathologist, you find ways for students to communicate through whatever means you can find so that they can connect to the world.

Susie:
Absolutely. In fact, during this time, when we're running our online speech groups, the first thing we have to do on our "word of the week" lesson is talk about all the different ways you can say that word, and we go through it. We say, you can sign "help". This is how you sign it. This is how you say it with your voice. You put your lips together for the "P" you can grab a picture symbol of health. You can point to a picture of health. You can point to a picture of health on your iPad. You can look at a picture of health. We've got to go through all of those different methods because our students use all of those different methods and even more so, with different software programs.

Superintendent Godfrey:
There are so many ways to communicate that we take for granted that we don't even think about. And you use all of those to connect with students. I love that. I've never heard it expressed quite that way and I think that's wonderful.

Susie:
Yeah. It's pretty remarkable when you start to go through the different ways kids are communicating. And, what I think is incredible is the teachers at Kauri Sue and the staff at Kaurie Sue also have to learn this as well. So, just because you're in a classroom with similar kids, they might be the same chronological age or the same cognitive age. They are all still using different systems. And so our teachers have to be really on top of knowing,this kid has a GoTalk device that he uses to say hi, but this kid uses ta single switch to say hi. So again, it comes back to a real strong team effort.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So how has working at Kauri Sue Hamilton and working with those students changed your life?

Susie:
Gosh, I have never held a job longer than the job that I've had at Kauri Sue. I absolutely really didn't think I would love it. I didn't think I would work in Special Education. I don't think I thought I would have a job that I would be so happy with. I've never felt so connected to the people I'm helping, the people I work with. I've gone through a lot of life events since working at Kauri Sue. I've proposed to my boyfriend. I got married. I actually went through cancer treatment while I was at Kauri Sue and just the outpouring of support from people there. The staff and student families alike have been incredible.  They've really just built such a community there and I feel so loved and supported in my career. It's life changing because I don't think I would go anywhere else.

Superintendent:
Wow. It really is a family over there it sounds like.

Susie:
Yeah, absolutely. It is.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Boy, I don't even know what to say. That's just very moving. That's wonderful. What a place to work. And they're so lucky to have you. Like I said, the accolades that we heard were heartfelt and plentiful and we just heard so many nice things about you through that process. It's obvious how much you love those kids and love the people you work with. And I'm so happy we have you at Kauri Sue Hamilton School and in Jordan School District.

Susie:
I am certainly happy that I found myself there because it's just been the best.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're very proud of all the efforts made every day to meet the needs of our special needs students in Jordan School District.

Thanks for joining us again on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see out there.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting education and people both young and old right now. On today’s episode of the Supercast, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey talks to Kim Lear, a generational sociologist who gives us some insight on how different generations, from Baby Boomers to Gen Z and beyond are dealing with the pandemic very differently.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome to the Superast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today we have the unique opportunity to sit down with Kim Lear, a Generational Sociologist. Kim, gives us some insight on how different generations from Baby Boomers to Gen Z and beyond are dealing with the pandemic very differently. Kim, thank you very much for taking time to talk with us on the Supercast.

Kim:
Thank you so much for having me.

Superintendent Godfrey:
You study generations. Before we talk about different reactions that people from different generations have had to COVID-19 and kind of the ongoing impact, can you just define the difference among generations? We throw these terms around sometimes nicely, sometimes as a pejorative term, but if you can, just kind of define those first and then let's talk about the reaction.

Kim:
Yeah. So the Baby Boomers are born between 1946 and 1964. The other groups that we're looking at are Gen X, 1965 to 1979, Millennials, 1980 to 1995 and then Gen Z after 96. I always make it a point to point out that, of course, and all of you listening, know that people are still individuals. This study of generations, at its core is this intersection of history and culture, getting an understanding of where we've been, how we got to where we are, and that can give us some insight into where we go from here.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yes. Talk about some of the defining moments that may be interpreted differently across generations. For example, space exploration is viewed differently or there are different memories for each generation associated with that.

Kim:
Yes. So, one of the ways that I conduct my research is, my team and I, will separate our focus groups by generation and then into each focus group, we'll bring an institution or an ideology and ask that generation to talk to us about their first memory. So as Dr. Godfrey had pointed out, we'll use space as an example, the institution of NASA. When I bring that institution into a focus group of Baby Boomers, I ask, "What is your first memory of NASA?" I mostly hear landing on the moon. And that moment was such a loaded moment in American history, winning the space race, this incredibly optimistic moment of knowing that if you work hard enough, if you have the right technology, the sky's the limit. That is what that particular moment represented to so many young people, watching that in that moment.

Now, when I walk next door to a focus group with Gen Xers, and I asked them, "What is your first memory of NASA?" The most common response that I hear is the Challenger explosion. So again, we're looking at the same institution, but those early memories of that same institution can differ greatly. So for Gen X or as they remember it, there was a teacher on that shuttle, they watched it in school and they will say things to me like, "If we could have trusted anyone, we could have trusted the geniuses at NASA, but we were let down. That was really a moment of disappointment". And so it's in these moments of generational juxtaposition that we can begin to understand how a new generation steps into the world and may see things a little bit differently.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How does that apply to the pandemic that we find ourselves in? That's going to be a defining event I'm sure for this generation. How do you think that pandemic will shape Generation Z?

Kim:
I wish that I really had a crystal ball to know. I'll tell you can have some of the early predictions. One of the things that I study with each generation is, who is the hero of this time. So I'll use millennials as an example, where during the formative years of millennials, tech entrepreneurs, tech innovators really controlled the history, the heroic storyline, and that dictated a lot of consumer behavior that dictated a lot of workplace aspirations where now, we have a new generation coming up and their heroic storyline is a little bit different. We see a lot of this focus on our healthcare workers, on our heroes, you know, and the who the hero is kind of beginning to change in the midst of COVID. And I think that could have some impacts on consumer behavior, on workplace aspirations.

I think COVID is accelerating a lot of the trends that already existed for Gen Z. More of a focus on health and wellness. I think in the midst of an era of a time where there is a virus and people with pre-existing conditions are more vulnerable, you do start to see even more of a shift than we already did around health consciousness and things like that. I think that will accelerate for Gen Z. And I think the biggest way that this will impact Gen Z is how adaptable and resilient they are forced to be. And it isn't only COVID, although of course, in this moment, it is a hard time to be young. And I'm sorry for telling parents that because they're going to be okay. I think the skills that they're learning right now are going to be so helpful to them in the future, but it's sad.

They're  going to have an unceremonious catapult adulthood, and there are moments that we cherish that mark this time for us, that they will not have. But they are finding other ways to show up for each other. I'm hearing so many stories about these socially distanced, birthday parties and graduations, where young people are showing up in each other's yards with signs and that kind of thing. It's like they're just finding such resourceful ways to be there for one another to adapt and in whatever comes next after this, I think that fundamental ability to change, to have a growth mindset to adapt, it's going to be imperative. And I think these kids have it.

Speaker 1 (06:37):
I interviewed students as part of a focus group as we were preparing the plan for reopening school. And from that conversation, one of the students coined this term kind of their COVID-19 Bucket List, where after all this has gone, they have plans for what they'd like to do. Things they'd like to do to make up for lost time. I know you've interviewed a lot of college and high school students. Is there that sense that they are making plans for how they're going to live life in a different way after all this is over?

Kim:
Dr. Ken Dykewald, who's a Gerontologist, a Psychologist ,his work that I really admire. He wrote a piece recently where he said, it almost feels like we're having like a collective near death experience. And in those moments, that's when everyone is faced with, what do I really want to do? You know, what legacies do I want to have? What is the community that I want to create? And in some ways, how fortunate are they that at such a young age, they get to grapple with those types of questions. What do I want to do? How do I want to spend my time? And I think that what you heard in from that student is so representative of what I'm hearing. There's also a very popular trend on Tik-Tok of all of these young people are talking about, you know, once I get back on to college, there's no excuses, everything that is presented to me, I'm going to say yes, every, every opportunity I'm going to do. And I think that my favorite prediction from a futurist is that we almost have this Renaissance, you know, this like 1920's era of absolute gleefulness as a result of what we're experiencing. And so I think what you heard is, I'm hoping, some of what we will see is young people taking advantage of everything that is beautiful about being young.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What is the impact you've seen on families in your interviews? And as you've studied, what's changed? I think that from my experience, we're spending more time together as a result of the pandemic and it's changed the dynamics. And I think that will change how it feels when kids come back to school.

Kim:
For the students who are fortunate enough to be in safe housing situations with supportive families, I think this has actually been a really meaningful time when I ask students, what's the biggest silver lining of COVID. Hands down, the runaway answer is more time with my family. And that is a response that I would expect to hear from parents who all of a sudden get a wind fall of time with their teenagers who wanted nothing to do with them. But to hear that from the teenagers themselves, and I think that's slowed down, you know, there's no fear of missing out. They're not constantly bombarded on social media with every party that's going on and everything that's happening outside of the walls of their house. They don't have that anymore, which creates, I think some peacefulness at home where they can really be there, be present with their families.

Superintendent Godfrey:
You mentioned about a stable home and a supportive home. If you don't have those things, I think the pandemic has probably emphasize those difficulties and make them more stark. Has that been your experience in interviews?

Kim:
You do have kids on one end of the spectrum, coming from very stable families, maybe families that have more money, we're seeing more private tutors, things like that with a very certain subset of students. And then of course, on the other side, you've got young students who are doing the best they can, their parents are absolutely doing the best they can, but both have to work, or maybe it's a single parent household. It can be difficult to level the playing field for students who are having such tremendously different pandemic experiences.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Stay with us. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, more with Generational Sociologist, Kim Lear.

Sandra Reisgraf:
Are you looking for a job right now, looking to work in a fun and supportive environment with great pay and a rewarding career? Jordan School District is hiring. We're currently feeling full and part time positions. You can work and make a difference in young lives and education as a classroom assistant or a substitute teacher. Apply to work in one of our school cafeterias where our lunch staff serves up big smiles with great food every day. We're also looking to hire custodians and bus drivers in Jordan school district. We like to say, "People come for the job and enjoy the adventure". Apply today at workatjordan.org.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How has different generations reacted to the pandemic? I know that with every generation, there are different moments that shaped the way we view the world. So maybe older generations, what are you seeing there?

Kim:
Well, actually, a study just came out two days ago from Age Wave showing that older generations are actually doing better than other generations, which is almost counter-intuitive because the nature of the virus impacts our older population more than it impacts the younger generation. I think a lot of it has to do with the level of economic anxiety that exists with each generation where, for a lot of older generations, if they're stable financially, then this time can be somewhat okay. You know that they're not missing their weddings. They're not missing their graduations. They're not trying to raise small children at home during this time. And so, older generations have actually reported higher levels of happiness. Another possible reason for that is you seeing more, having a little bit more perspective, understanding that there's going to be these highs and lows to life and just not letting the lows get you as low.

So that could be another reason for it. Baby Boomers have been showing to be incredibly adaptable during this time. Necessity is the mother of invention and they still want to talk to their kids and their grandkids, and they many still want to work. They want to teach whatever that may be. And so technology is the only way to do that and they're doing it. And so that's been impressive. I think after this, we're going to see a lot of tech empowered elders. Then, kind of in a funny twist of events, this is during my Gen X interviews, there are a lot of Gen Xers who have somewhat recently become empty nesters. And around the time that campus evacuation started happening, they had just kind of started finding their footing again with their spouse, getting into a rhythm, their new norm.

And then all of a sudden they're college age, kids are back home and they're like, why are you here? So that's been sort of a funny thing to look at that. Young people are really okay with moving back home, but there are some parents were thinking, "Oh, we just had our freedom and now that's even being taken away." Millennials, absolutely the most economic anxiety, stepping into the labor force during a recession, statistically, it's hard to catch up when that happens. And then as they're entering their most expensive years, hitting another recession, it's the biggest thing that I hear around besides the health and safety of your loved ones, "What are you most worried about millennials?" It's being furloughed, it's being laid off. It's not being able to provide appropriately for their families. So they're all dealing with things differently, they're all up against something different based on their life stage and their situation. But I will say that overwhelmingly, I've been left optimistic by the adaptability and the resilience that people have shown in the face of such adversity.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I would agree. I've seen just a lot of efforts to come together, to look at things in a new way and to really unite and join forces to help support each other. And, unfortunately, sometimes it's a pandemic that brings us to that point. Not that we weren't already there, but it really makes us feel more keenly the need to rely on each other and support each other. And that's what we're really focused on as students return to school this fall is making sure that we create a safe environment. That there's a place for them to convey the concerns and worries that they have. But I think really focusing on learning and bringing them back to feeling the supportive environment at school, where they can form friendships and learn and feel like they're advancing and moving forward. You've talked about trends and traits in the past where trends show generally what's happening with a group that tends to have the same experiences, but we all have our individual traits. And we're all individuals, even though we talk in broad strokes about people of a certain age reacting, we know that every child, every employee, every parent is in a different circumstance and is going to react to this differently.

Kim:
Yes. That's so true and it's one of the reasons why in any work that I do, I make sure that people understand my expertise is limited. My background is in sociology. I'm specifically looking at what we share. And I think, even in times of so much partisanship and people having different ideas on things, whether we want to believe it or not, we do share so much. And that is the core of what I study. But of course, it's important for I'm a parent myself. My two kids are different, but as a parent, as a teacher, as an administrator, as a community member, of course, we have to look at that psychological side. Who are you? How does your brain work? How do you like to receive feedback? How do you learn? And no one knows that better than parents know their kids. And so there's a lot on the shoulders of parents right now. There's a lot on the shoulders of teachers, but it seems to me, especially here in the Jordan District, everyone is focused. Everyone is aligned on the same mission, which is, "Let's do right by these kids. Let's give them the education that they deserve".

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, thank you very much for spending time with us, Kim. It's a pleasure having you and safe travels.

Kim:
Thanks for having me.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. And remember, education is the most thing you'll do today.

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What are schools doing to welcome students back safely for the 2020-21 school year? In this episode of the Supercast, we find out what is going on in schools right now with the installation and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We also offer some tips for parents who are looking to get their students ready for a successful new school year.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast today. We're talking about the Personal Protective Equipment that's being delivered to schools. We'll visit Copper Canyon Elementary. We'll also talk with Stacee Worthen about how parents and students can prepare for the coming school year and make course changes, if necessary. I'm here at Copper Canyon eElementary with Principal Patty Bowen. We have our boom mic. And so we are doing our first in-person Supercast for a long time, but still distanced and still with masks. Thank you for joining us on the Supercast.

Patty:
You're welcome. We're excited to get these materials.

Superintendent:
Yes. We're here with Patty and all the materials that she has received, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that just arrived at the school here on display. So walk us through what you just received today, Patty.

Patty:
Okay. Well, we have face masks with the Jordan District logo on them, two per teacher. We're excited to distribute those. They are reusable, washable. They'll look very nice.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I have a mask, but can I try one of these on? I think I'm going to have to keep it, one sec. Let's try it. Oh, that's actually pretty comfortable. It's better than the one I had on.

Patty:
We also have these cool, infrared thermometers we are going to pull on out of the box here. Yeah, those are going to be great. You just scan a child's forehead and don't have to touch them and I don't have to touch anything and we can see if they're running the temperature.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It's fired up. Oh, it came with batteries. So let's load some batteries in there. Alright. I guess I'll take your temperature. Let's see. Well, let's see how she's doing. 97.2. I don't get to go home and then you don't get to go home.

Patty:
And we've got several bottles of disinfectant spray and some paper towels. These heavy duty kind of cloth towels that we're going to use to sanitize desktops and things in the faculty room. Just things that need regular sanitation. We also have these big, heavy pieces of plexiglass.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. The plexiglass seems nice and sturdy. All right. We actually have to happen to have an actual student here. An example, students kind of a sample student. Would you please sit in the chair here? Tell me your name, Ellie.

Student:
Ellie.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Ellie's here. So we're going to practice, through the plexiglass here, how that feels.

Student:
Yeah. It's kind of different.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Isn't that right? We've tearing off most of the plastic here. That's pretty clear. That's a lot more personal than just a screen. Yeah, I like that. Wow. It feels good to sit across the table from an actual real life student. Nice to see you. Alright. And I can see you very well through here. Can you hear me okay?

Student:
Yeah.

Superintendent Godfrey:
How does it feel for you on the other side?

Student:
It feels good. I thought it would be more filmy. So, I can see you and can connect with you, but it's better.

Student:
Yes.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Good. I'm glad to hear that. It really is. We can pass things back and forth here through this little window if we need to. It's a good connection. So Ellie, we've looked through the plexiglass and we've talked with masks on and you've been in the school. How are you feeling about the start of school coming up?

Student:
I'm excited. I'm excited to be able to interact with my friends again and like see my teachers.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. I think, once we get back and start to experience that again, we'll realize even more just how much we missed it.

Patty:
I think this is going to be great. Teachers are gonna love, working with their students, face to face again through the plexiglass. They're gonna enjoy that. And we also have these big gallon size of hand sanitizer. It's going to work well in the classroom, keeping things sanitized and kids going back and forth from recess and lunch and things using that throughout the day.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Now, that gallon of hand sanitizer, that is a big,  that's a lot of hand sanitizer right there. It's going to be interesting to see how long it lasts.

Patty:
I know that we send out rubber bands as well to put around the top so that it doesn't go all the way down. You know, you push down sometimes on that pump and you get a whole pint of it there. Thank you very much for joining us Patty. I know we have thousands of these being distributed throughout the District and some of our warehouse drivers have actually driven up to Ogden to pick some of them up directly from the warehouse to get them out as quickly as we could. So we appreciate everyone's efforts getting these ready to go. I know schools have been eager to receive these materials and now that you have them, you can start to get those into classrooms. So thanks for everything you're doing, Patty.

Patty:
You're welcome. Thank you.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, Stacee Worthen will help talk us through how students and parents can request a class change before the start of school. Stay with us.

Sandra Riesgraf:
Are you looking for a job right now? Looking to work in a fun and supportive environment with great take and a rewarding career? Jordan School District is hiring. We're currently filling full and part time positions. You can work and make a difference in young lives and education as a classroom assistant or a substitute teacher, apply to work in one of our school cafeterias where our lunch staff serves up big smiles with great food every day. We're also looking to hire custodians and bus drivers in Jordan School District. We like to say, "People come for the job and enjoy the adventure". Apply today at workatjordan.org.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome back to the Supercast. We're here now with Stacee Worthen, our Secondary Counselor Specialist at the District level. And she's going to talk with us a little bit about how we can effectively help students return to school after they've been out for so long. This is about twice as long as any student has ever been out of school since they started. So, there are going to be some adjustments and it's going to be a little bit difficult. What are some things we can do to help prepare students to return?

Stacee:
So what I would talk to your students about is that it is normal to feel anxious or stressed or a little uncomfortable about going back to school and what that's going to look like. Because when you say, this is the first time that we've ever gone back to school, after being out of school for such a long time, we've never done it before. It's new and it's new for everyone. You're normalizing it for your child. And that makes them feel much more prepared to be able to address those feelings of being anxious or uncomfortable or stressed. So, it's important for them to understand that teachers, counselors, and other students, as well as themselves, are going to be feeling uncomfortable and stressed because this is the first time that we've ever all experienced this. And so that's okay.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I've heard this theme, as I've spoken with you and other experts in the District, about validating concerns rather than dismissing them. And I've done that as a father, as well. Just try to step back and say, there's a reason you feel this way and it's okay for you to feel this way. And other people feel this way. But now, let's talk about how you can manage that and deal with that. And, you can do this and you can overcome the feelings of anxiety or concern that you're having.

Stacee:
Once you normalize it, then you can say, okay, this is the first time we've ever experienced opening schools in a pandemic. We've never done this before, on both sides, as parents and as a school district. Right? And so once we normalize it and say, okay, this is going to be hard because we've never done it before. Then it allows us to, it empowers us to be able to go, okay, now we can go through these really hard times. We have the strength to do it. We know that it's gonna be hard. It's going to be uncomfortable and it might take more resources, more time, more emotional resources than we've ever put into this before. But we are now empowered to be able to move forward. And so, then you're telling your children this is going to be hard, harder than you've ever experienced before, but now you have the power to move forward and start working towards.

Now we can find the solutions, we can find the resources and we can start making those steps. Now, in three months we might say, Oh, that worked really well, that didn't, and so now we have new ideas and new resources and we're going to continue to move forward. And then when we get to the other side, then we say, you know what? You did really hard things and you were successful and we're really proud of you. And  now we we can move forward because we've been able to do those hard things.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yes. And it's a very different feeling to say, I feel this way, and other people feel this way and it's okay that I feel this way. And now I can address it and try to solve it as opposed to, why do I feel with this way? What's wrong with me that I feel this way? Everyone else is handling this and I'm stressed and upset. What are some tips, especially for parents, just as they are thinking about how to prepare themselves for the changes that come with sending kids back to school and the worry that may be associated with that?

Stacee:
Well, the tips that we always give are first and foremost. Take care of yourself because when you are well rested, you've gotten some exercise, you're eating right, then you can be the best parent that you can be to address the issues that your children are experiencing. Then you need to do the same for your children. You need to talk to them about their stresses and their concerns. Keep that open line of communication because they are going to be scared and nervous. And that's normal. Everybody is experiencing that. But, also make sure that they're doing all the things to take care of themselves as well, physically active, that you're controlling their screen time, that they're getting some really good sleep. All of those things are going to help. And then you can go ahead and move forward. And next week you can communicate with the school because that's when our counselors are going to really know how they cab best work with these kids to do what they do best to help them be successful at school. cCommunicate with your counselor, talk about your students' needs, and then figure out what is going to work best for your child, and then move forward and let them know this is going to be hard, but they can do it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. And that's the other part of it. It's hard. It's okay to feel this way, but you can do it. And there's a lot of support. And the fact that we're all in it makes a big difference. A couple of things, I have done a terrible job with screen time. The screen time limits have just vaporized, as has the bedtime. And I know that a routine is important and we have a routine. It just involves a lot of screen time and going to bed pretty late. And so we're going to have to wrap up, just like you talked about. But thinking about that now, I think will help prepare us for that. So I that's great advice.

Stacee:
Same thing at my house. I say to my son, Dude, you must sleep. You can't be up until midnight and then expect to get up for school. So on Monday, he's already got a plan where he's going to set his alarm and practice getting up. Even if he's tired, he's gonna get up and eat breakfast and get back into that routine of going to bed a little bit early. We bought some paddle boards to get out. You have to be a little creative with the times we're experiencing right with social distancing. So for us, we thought, okay, our kids like being outdoors paddle boarding. So we've been doing a little bit more of that. As a family, you have to decide what is going to work best, but absolutely start your routine on Monday so the kids are ready to start school.

Superintendent Godfrey:
The paddle boarding, that sounds great. Now, you mentioned counselors. Counselors, of course, are a great resource. Time has taken on a different sort of quality these days and class choices that were made in April seemed like they were made years ago, right? And there may need to be some adjustments to the student's schedule. Will you talk parents through how best to approach at the middle school and at the high school level, AND request for course changes at the school. How to approach a counselor. How does that work for parents who may be seeking a class change for their students?

Stacee:
Sure. So when you are looking at a class change for your child, what you need to do is contact the school Counseling Center. Probably you're going to call their secretary. And your best route is to schedule an appointment so that they have time to be able to sit and meet with you and go through what the best options are because you're right, the scheduling has changed. The master schedule is going to be different than what it was in May. So there may be some different teachers, there may be some different options. And that takes about 15 to 30 minutes to just sit down with your counselor, talk about your student's needs and then fitting those classes back into the schedule, the best that they can. Now, obviously it might not be the perfect schedule. They might not be able to get exactly everything that you want, but they will facilitate meeting your child's needs to the best of their ability. And it will be the same if you're doing a partial schedule or in-person classes versus online, the school counselor will also do that as well.

Superintendent Godfrey:
But the bottom line is that if you want a class change, there's a window within which a student can do that by setting up an appointment with a counselor before the start of school. And counselors have contract days that go after school ends and before school starts to allow for exactly that.

Stacee:
That's right. And in fact, most of my teams have been back this week and they're going to be all back to work on Monday.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay, great. What other advice do you have for students or parents as they look forward to starting school? What kind of a frame of mind can set them up for success?

Stacee:
I think that they just need to make sure they know that they can do hard things, that even though this isn't going to be what they have experienced in the past, this is new, they have the ability to be flexible and be kind to one another and they're going to be just fine. And they're going to be able to come out the other side and be able to have new skills and new abilities that are going to be probably bigger and better than we can ever imagine because they've been successful going through this difficult time.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yes. I think your point about kindness is very important because we haven't been together in these circumstances and when you're under stress and you're in a new circumstance, sometimes not at our best, it's more difficult to be kind sometimes when we're not at our best. So we need to be very deliberate about focusing on being kind to one another as we return. Right?

Stacee:
Let's try and find the best in each other and the situation and move forward. The best that we can.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Now, beyond getting your schedule set up the way you'd like, counselors offer all kinds of support, social and emotional wellness and just helping kids grapple with and solve problems and issues that pop up.

Stacee:
Absolutely. They will still be working with all students on social and emotional wellness. They'll still be trying to run groups safely with social distancing. They still will be coming in to classrooms and teaching lessons on anything to do with social, emotional, behavioral issues and support. They're still going to be doing everything that they've done in the past to try and meet the needs of the kids. It's more than just academics. It's about the whole child for counselors. It's about how we can make sure that everything within that child, social, emotional behavioral academic is the best that it can possibly be as well as giving them skills to be able to work through some of those stresses and anxieties that they're feeling.

Superintendent Godfrey:
There's a close relationship between social and emotional wellness and academic learning. You can't learn academics unless you're feeling good enough to do that. But when you enjoy academic success, then it boosts your social, emotional wellness. So there's a really close relationship between the two.

Stacee:
And we really want to make sure that all of that is working for each student so that they can develop and grow and be happy and experience all of the success that they can in a school setting.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. Well, thank you very much, Stacee, for joining us. We look forward to seeing you as we start a new school year. Stay safe and healthy out there. And remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you out there.

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It is not the typical summer of rest and relaxation for some middle school students in Jordan School District. That’s because they are immersed in things like abstract reasoning, problem-solving and computer science. In this episode of the Supercast we are going to explore something called the Pre-freshman Engineering Program (PREP), which is an academically rigorous mathematics-based summer enrichment program. Learn how it gives students an opportunity to start earning college credit at a very young age.


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Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. It's not a typical summer of rest and relaxation for nearly 100 middle school students at Jordan School dDistrict. That's because they are immersed in things like abstract reasoning, problem-solving and computer science. In this episode of the Supercast, we're going to explore something called the Pre-Freshmen Engineering Program or PREP, which is an academically rigorous mathematics-based summer enrichment program. Find out how this program is giving students the opportunity to earn college credit at a very young age. Our guest today is Stacy Pierce, who started the PREP program for students in Jordan School District. Stacy, thanks for joining us.

Stacy:
Glad to be here.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Jordan PREP is the first program, and you are the first person I highlighted with the Board as Superintendent. I get to do a little Superintendent highlight at the beginning of the meeting, and I think it was maybe two weeks before my first meeting. I saw you the culminating event for Jordan PREP last summer, and I bumped the person I already had scheduled. I put you on the agenda just because I was so impressed with your program. So, thanks for talking about it today.

Stacy:
Thank you, I loved it. Thank you for inviting me back.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Give us just an overview of what Jordan PREP is about.

Stacy:
I'd be happy to. Jordan PREP is a program that targets under-represented students. We start recruiting students from the sixth grade. We don't talk to parents, we only talk to students. So the students self-select for this program and they enter in sixth grade and now, believe it or not, they're going to exit in 12th grade. At the time we started recruiting last year, it was a three year program. They invest six weeks of their summer vacation and they choose to study logic, physics, computer science, engineering, statistics, algebraic structures, computer programming, and technical writing. We are in our third year of this program for the Jordan School District. We're the only school district in the Nation with this program. Now, this program has been around 40 years, but in general, it's supported by colleges, not by school districts. So it's a very, very exciting program. We love it. And we're doing it online this year and, believe it or not, we love it online. So that's Jordan PREP.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I'm really interested in hearing how it has transitioned to the online experience. But,  one of the things I thought was particularly impressive about the program as you described, it is the number of guest speakers that you involve to inspire the kids and give them some vision for what they can do with their lives.

Stacy:
I'll tell you, the guest speakers this year have been knocking it out of the ballpark, but every single year I say that. So we try to get a representative population of career speakers. There are a very diverse population of career speakers, men, women of all ethnic diversity, that come and speak to our students. And when we're in-person, we do it every single day. And when we are online, we've done it twice a week. Believe it or not, it's been as effective online as it has been in person. So these speakers come from all areas of STEM. They come from medicine, they come from the natural sciences. They come from engineering. We've had ornithologists come and bring a peregrine falcon. We've had bat specialists come and bring that little itty bitty schools. We've had engineering from every single discipline. We have the University of Utah Games, masters program professor coming this week. We've had presidents of companies. We've had lawyers, we've had bankers, from every discipline that touches on STEM. We've had common inspire our students. It's a big part of the program. Probably hard work is the biggest part of the program. And right next to it would be those career speakers and our teachers and our teaching assistants, inspiring our students and coming from a very diverse background.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Why do you think it's so important for them to hear from people who have found success?

Stacy:
Well, the number one thing, I think, is they not just talking about their success, but they talk about their failures. They talk about their challenges. They talk about their struggles and a lot of these students have all of the above. Our last speaker was a lawyer and a student asked, "Did you ever think about quitting law school?" And she said, every single day. But the thing that inspired me was something very negative. Somebody said that to me and it rang in my head every single day. And I though, now, wait a minute. I am smart. I do deserve this because I work hard. And so every single speaker brings that to the table for our students. Not just their success and what their career looks like today, but how they got there and their journey.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I love that, and I sensed from the kids, when I saw the culminating event, you expect a lot of them.

Stcy:
I do. Fortunately, sometimes it's our hardest life experiences bring us the farthest. I just put six kids on probation, right? So this online school, I should just be grateful that they show up. But that's not good enough.  They're expected to keep up with their work. They're still expected to be on time every day, they're expected to be participating and they have to be on their cameras. We have to see their faces every day so that we get a chance to build that tribe. My expectations haven't lowered this summer. In fact, maybe they're higher, right? So these kids need to push through this. It's midterms and we'll be at the end of the program in just two weeks. And I think every single one of them will meet those high expectations. We're not lowering our expectations just because it's online. They know it, they sign up, they are rising to the occasion, just like they did before.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, it's the best example I can think of, of how high expectations brings the best out in students, because implicit in that is that you believe in them.

Stcy:
We do, we absolutely do. We had one student show up today and he stayed online with all the teachers. I said, are you comfortable talking to all of us? And he said, "Yes, I want to know if the reason you're kicking me out of Jordan PREP is because of football". And I said, "No, absolutely not. You're not on time. You missed and you're missing assignments and I need you to be the very best version of yourself. And I believe you can. You're not kicked out of Jordan PREP. You're given an opportunity to become the best version of yourself that you possibly can. I know you can do it. All of these TA's know you can do it. We're here for you. You just tell us what we have to do to help you be successful because we know you can." So, that's what we do.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It's obvious they get the message. I can't think of a more inspiring meeting I've been in with teachers and students interacting. And, um, it was just really apparent to me that you had made a permanent impact in their lives.

Stacy:
Well, we ended that conversation with we love you and, and he said, thanks for being the best. And I know that on Monday, every single one of his assignments will be done because we truly care about these kids and they know we love them and it's through love and holding those expectations high that I believe that these kids are going to change the world. I truly believe that.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I don't doubt it for a second. Tell me more about the rest of the staff.

Stacy:
Oh, I'd be happy to. I try very, very hard to make my staff as diverse as my population of students are. I have an amazing staff of both teachers and teaching assistants. The teaching assistants generally come from the college population. These are young people that bond closely with these students. I have an engineering student from Salt Lake Community College. He just graduated from Salt Lake Community College and on one of our field trips to Merit Medical, we were able to provide him with a job. So now, on the weekends, he works at Merit Medical, through the week, thank heavens, he works for us. And he's a young, hispanic man named Renee. And we all hope and pray that he doesn't become an engineer and that he actually becomes an educator. There's no question about it, but someday I do think he'll return to the world of education because he is such a powerful influence on our students.

In addition, we have  two Hispanic teachers. mr. Baez was the Teacher of the Year for Jordan, at Western Junior High or Middle School. And he's a phenomenal problem-solving teacher, but all of our teachers are absolutely amazing. And all of our teaching assistants are absolutely amazing and they're such an inspiration to the students. There's nothing they won't do for these students. They're incredible.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, great people get attracted to a great program like that and the chance to really make a difference in the lives of students. Speaking of that, you talked earlier about hoping that Renee stays an educator instead of becoming an engineer and you did things in the opposite order.

Stacy:
Yes, I do. I do think that Renee will go into engineering ,as I did.  I spent 30 years in the world of engineering. I was a Principal eEngineering Manager at a company called Rockwell Collins, formerly Evans and Sutherland.  We worked on flight simulators for the military, as well as the commercial airlines. It was a phenomenal career. There wasn't a day that I didn't enjoy myself, or I didn't learn something. But when my father passed away, and he was an educator on the Navajo Reservation. I decided that it was time to become an educator myself. I had an education degree in math, computer science and statistics, but I never used it until 30 years later. And that's when I joined the field of education and was fortunate enough to get a job at West Jordan Middle School. I always knew that I wanted to start a program to help under-represented students and pave their path to careers in STEM. So I found the PREP program and brought it to Jane Harward and she found the funding from Boeing. And here we are. We have five additional years of funding from Merit Medical, and we just won a National Science Foundation Grant to extend it through high school. It's been a dream come true.

Superintendent Godfrey:
You've had donors dying to be a part of this that have really wanted to be associated with this program, after they see what a great impact it has on students.

Stacy:
Right. So, to quote Fred Lampropoulos, he said, "This is my hood. These are my students. I'll do anything I can to support this program". So there's a real bonding to our neighborhood, our family, our tribe. And when you have a program that has the magic components that make students want to literally give up their summer and not hang out with their friends for six weeks to study math, that's insane. Who does that? Right? And we don't ever talk to a parent until the mandatory meeting. We never speak to a parent. These kids are the ones who want to better their lives and better the lives of their families.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It's empowering. And it's focused on students beginning to end.

Stacy:
Exactly. Hopefully, we'll be able to get very close to an Associate's degree in technical engineering by the time they finish high school, so they're on their way, their path is paved. They've got the analytical skills, the problem-solving skills to truly make a difference in this world. These are the kids that are going to solve the COVID problem. These are the kids that are going to solve the rest of the problems that are out there that yet need to be solved.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Absolutely. And when you see that you've been underserved, but now you prove yourself in a program like this, nothing is too daunting.

Stacy:
Nothing is too daunting. There's nothing, these students can't do.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back with what parents need to know about getting their students involved in PREP.

(13:59):
Do you want to know what's going on in Jordan School District? Get updates on the latest information that could impact you and your child, or just find an uplifting story about the good things happening in schools throughout the District. Check out our website at jordandistrict.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter at Jordan District.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Stacy, what role do parents play? I know that you don't talk with parents immediately when students are signing up for the program, but ultimately, what part do parents play in student success?

Stacy:
You know, there's no way that students can be successful in Jordan PREP without that parental support. So, historically, the parent's responsibility was to make sure that the students had a ride to Jordan PREP and a ride home. And if they didn't, we tap into the village and find them a ride to PREP and a ride home. They also have to encourage the students to make sure that their work is done and make sure that they are loving and supporting them and encouraging them to stay up on their work. In addition, a lot of students need to take care of their little brothers and sisters during the summer. That means that the responsibility is back on parents to find additional support for those little brothers and sisters.

Now, with it being online, the parents need to provide a quiet environment. We did provide heads headphones with microphones for each student, but the distractions can be great. The parents have been wonderful at eliminating those distractions. We've had grandmothers sit in their classes with their students all day long. It's been absolutely beautiful to watch that, you know, a grandma of one of our Polynesian students just learning right alongside of him and enjoying the program right alongside of him. It's been absolutely beautiful. So the parents are critical part of PREP.

And when we have the unfortunate situation where we have to put a student on probation and encourage them to catch up and continue to be a part of the program, it's the parents that come and say, thank you. We support you. We understand you're not going to lower those standards and we don't want you to. So we've had phenomenal support, even in those difficult situations from our parents. They're just amazing.

We've had mothers go back to school and finish their high school degree because their children are in PREP and they want to show their children that they want to go learn, and they want to be better themselves to encourage their students to continue and be an example to them. So it's kind of a full circle situation with parents. Believe it or not, a full circle where the students are doing something really hard encourages their parents to go do something really hard and makes their students proud of them.

Superintendent Godfrey:
The impact can be immediate, in a lot of ways.

Stacy:
It really can. It absolutely can.

Superintendent Godfrey:
When you presented to the Board, there were some stunning statistics that you cited about what happens when someone goes into the PREP program. And I'm not going to ask you to come up with those off the top of your head, but really, students who would have very little chance statistically of graduating from college, suddenly going through this program have a very high chance of graduating from college and well beyond.

Stacy:
Oh, absolutely. I actually, I can  quote those too. With the population that we serve, of over 50% minority, over 50% girls, 71% are on free lunch. So they are low income. And 68% of the students do not have a parent who either graduated from high school or went to college. That's our demographics. So with that demographic, you would expect 15% of these students to go to college and less than 5% of them to actually graduate. The PREP program did not start with Jordan PREP. It started 40 years ago in Texas, and they've gathered those statistics. It turns out that the kids willing to invest their summers are not losing their skills over the summer. They're gaining mathematical ability. 90% of PREP students go to college.  From that 90% that go to college, 68% graduate from college and from that 68%, 64% actually take the difficult path in my opinion, which is to graduate in a STEM career.

Now of that 68%, 57% are minority and 64% are girls. So, if you think about this 40 years ago, girls pursuing degrees in STEM, that's unheard of. The statistics statistics are what drew me to this program. I spent six months studying STEM programs out there, deciding if I wanted to join an existing program, which is always better because you don't spend the money creating it, or start a new program. There was no reason to start a new program. This program had the success statistics. That made sense. That  is what I wanted to be a part of.

Superintendent Godfrey:
It's staggering, how this reverses the pattern and changes lives that we know otherwise may not have access to the resources that they now see as something that is within their grasp.

Stacy:
Absolutely. So the second they joined the program, these kids know what they're a part of and what they're a part of is a path to success. And that is probably why we have only lost one student from our third year class. All the students that joined us the first year, we've only lost one student, and that was because of extracurricular activities. They just decided, and that's the beautiful, right, that extracurricular activities would not allow them to focus enough on the program to be successful in both. And that's totally understandable, totally supportive of that student's decision. But students want to better their futures and they want to better the futures of their family. They know that this program has all of the key components to help them.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Are there specific stories you could tell us about individual students?

Stacy:
Oh, absolutely. Our first year, and I get so teary eyed every time I tell this, a student lost her father and we only allow three absences in the summer. We always tell the students that you can always go to school, but you can't always be a part of PREP. You can miss three times, that's it. So if you feel like you need to go out for a week, this isn't the program for you because you're not going to be able to come back. After that week long vacation, we just cover too much material every single day. But, the first year, we had a little girl who lost her father from brain cancer. And, of course, we told her that she is more than welcome to miss as long as she needed to miss in order to help her through that time.

But two days later, not three but two days later, she was back and  as one of our strongest students. And she's still with us today. There are so many stories of the resilience of these students and their commitment to this program and their ability to bounce back. Some from things that I could never have bounced back from at that age. We had a student that left because of medical reasons to go back to Taiwan for medical treatment for a year, she came back this year and she's on her way, moving to South Carolina. But every morning her parents wait until PREP is over and then they get back on the road. The next morning, they're in a different hotel and they wait until PREP is over and they're back on the road. So she didn't just say, I'm sorry, I'm moving to South Carolina. She made sure and her parents made sure that she could continue to be successful in our program. So, true resilience from these kids. They touch my heart every single day.

Superintendent Godfrey
It just, it's impossible for me to describe how proud I am of the work that you're doing and how thrilled I am to have you in Jordan District.

Stacy:
Well, we couldn't do it without your support. So thank you so much for being supportive  of a program that is my dream come true and is definitely changing the lives of our students.

Superintendent Godfrey:
When I first met you, our students in Jordan PREP made so much progress in the program. There wasn't anywhere for them to go next. They go back into regular programs and there wasn't a next step. Isn't that true?

Stacy:
That is so true. And so now we're so grateful that last year, after our closing ceremony, that you came to and we're so grateful that you were there, the head of the Engineering Department at Salt Lake Community College was also in attendance. I had been courting him for four years when I came to work for Jordan School District. I wanted to start the program with Salt Lake Community College because that's the natural fit. Sure. They were in flux of leadership at that time and it didn't work out. But after he sat through that closing ceremony and looked into the faces of our students and saw the diversity and the population of our students and the families, and really got to feel our tribe, he came back and said, "Let's write a grant together for National Science Foundation and extend this through high school."

Without that ladder for the kids to climb, there's a possibility we'd lose a few. There is always a possibility we'll lose a few. So we wrote a grant with Salt Lake Community College, and believe it or not, the first day of online PREP, we found out that we had received that grant with Salt Lake Community College. Now our students will extend to a fourth year in the summer and do a Capstone Pro Project of their choosing. And then their junior and senior years, there'll be over on the Salt Lake Community College Campus, taking college classes and graduating with at least their certification, if not their Associates degree in Engineering Technology. And that particular degree feeds into Weber State University, manufacturing and engineering seamless. They'll also graduate with a small scholarship to help them continue their education and the ability to make money, decent money while they're going to college. So, it's a beautiful transition we have now.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So how many students are currently involved?

Stacy:
We have 96 students online this summer.  We had to pay for a Zoom, professional license that will handle 500 because there's 100 to 500, all online. They are all on their cameras. We see their beautiful faces every single day. And with my staff and with the speakers, we're well over a hundred. Four our closing ceremony, we'll invite grandparents, we'll invite aunts and uncles, and we hope to use all 500 spots for our closing ceremony.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, please reserve one for me.

Stacy:
You got it. Of course.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I would love to be a part of that again. I don't think I'll ever miss it again.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, thank you so much. We don't ever want to miss it again. Tell me what was the transition to doing this online like?

Stacy:
Oh, it was very interesting. Every single PREP Program in the Nation, did their own thing. We had a choice and I felt very privileged that I had been able to do online teaching prior to making the decision of what PREP would look like. And so, as an online teacher, I taught a normal class three times a day, once during the time slot I was allotted and two in the evening for those students that had to go to work. What I found is that I had students that were coming to all three classes, even though they knew the answers, the very first class of the day, and they were doing it for the social interaction. So I knew that we had to keep that component in PREP. What we do is online teaching live for 30 minutes, and then we have a social engagement for 30 minutes and then back to online teaching for 30 minutes.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So what happens during the social engagement?

Stacy:
They'll bring their pets to school, have Spirit Days where they have funky hats or funky socks, or we say, "I spy with my little eye", something in your background that helps us get to know you better. So the social engagement and the building of the tribe is still in effect and building those relationships because they don't come from one school. They come from all of our Title I schools and so we have to be able to build those relationships and then learn. And they say that you learn 75% faster if you're actually having fun. So that's the fun component of PREP that we've been able to maintain. And then on Fridays, we go on virtual field trips because we can't go on real field trips. We go on virtual field trips with the component of our program. There is gratitude. We write thank you notes to our speakers. They can also write thank you notes to their family or to one of the teachers or TA's. So, we've kept the component of gratitude alive. And then we do robots. We built robots the rest of the time and they struggle building those robots and they learn through that struggle. So we've kept all of the components of PREP, the hard work, the inspiration, the fun, the building of the tribe and the gratitude all alive.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What an incredible program. That's fantastic. Maybe you could read the sentence what you have posted up behind you, of learning things about you from your background, the mathematics quote strikes me there.

Stacy:
I could click search and then I select quotes for them to decorate my classroom the first year that I was a teacher. And I thought, even on those bad days, I can look at these pictures of nature and these inspirational quotes and I'll be okay. One says, "Mathematics is not only for solving numbers. It's for dividing sorrows, subtracting sadness, adding happiness and multiplying love and forgiveness".

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, I think that's a great summary of what happens in Jordan PREP.

Stacy:
I do too.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Hey, Stacy, I've heard tell of a Swag Wagon. Tell me about that.

Stacy:
Well, industry is very kind to us, as well as businesses. Once you tell them the story of Jordan PREP, they've been incredibly generous and we always have a Swag Table and we reward kindness. We reward our Student of the Week. We reward the best note taking for the week, but this year we can't have a swag table. So I made my car into a Swag Wagon and every window of my car has words, such as PREP Strong. So our logo this year, our slogan is PREP Strong because it's difficult to go to PREP online. And instead of little gears, we have little COVID viruses on our T shirts and on my car. It says,  Jordan's Wagon. It says PREP Strong. It says, Believe in Yourself. It says Computer Science, Statistics, Physics. Every window is decorated. I drive up to the houses and I interrupt the students from class. And those students that have been selected by their TAs and their teachers come out and select something from the swag in the Jordan Wagon. It's a lot of fun to visit those students at home. In fact, you should come some day. It is a treat to visit their homes and see how much pride their parents have and their brothers and sisters have. They all run out of the house and there's three doors worth of swag that they have to weed through and select what it is that they want. I had one student, yesterday, who would not leave class. His brother kept saying somebody at the door for you.  And he would not leave class, he's the Student of the Week. This wagon has been just a lot of fun.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's amazing. I would love to join the Swag Wagon. Let me know. I'll hit the road with you. Thank you so much for spending time with us and for the wonderful things you do for our kids.

Stacy:
Well, thank you and thank you for your support. And I'm grateful to my amazing staff and my amazing students.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Please thank everyone for me. And I will definitely be there for graduation.

Stacy:
Perfect. I'll send you an invite right away.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. And remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today, even though it's summer, we'll see out there.

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