Silver Linings

by: Mike Murphy, Headmaster
During the coming weeks, we will all find some silver linings in the midst of the disruptions we are experiencing. I have already had two silver linings experiences. One has been seeing the incredible dedication of our Technology and Communications teams as they have reached out to faculty, staff, students and families to help them prepare for the distance learning experience being offered. Monday may have been the most productive professional development day I have ever observed. Teachers were working together to be sure they had materials ready to engage our Shorecrest students. People were learning new skills and how to work with technology in new ways.

The second was having the time to see Tom Hanks in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” If you want to watch a movie that can add a little positive inspiration to your life, this is the one. This Mr. Rogers episode is not for children. It is for adults of all ages. I hope you will agree.

Meanwhile, in our Shorecrest neighborhood here are a few of the silver linings that have been reported to me:
  • Dr. Baralt shared the story of a parent of younger children who could not imagine how she was going to do her work at home and at the same time have her children do the school assignments. Within two minutes of having the mother and child on the phone, the mother realized her child has the skills and independence to do what the teachers were asking without parental oversight! Mom was relieved and the child was empowered!
  • Did you see the Cameron family's video? Between overseeing distance learning for their own three children, and holding distance learning classes for their respective students, Mrs. Cameron (Fourth Grade Teacher) and Coach Cameron (US Health) brought the family together to create this fun video moment for the community.
  • On Friday morning of last week, Head of Upper School, Don Paige, in anticipation of our campus closure, explained our distance learning plan to Upper School students. When he asked if they had questions, one of the first questions was regarding what would happen to the SAGE Dining food service staff if we closed. When Mr. Paige reported that the decision had already been made to pay the SAGE staff, the students broke into spontaneous applause. Clearly the values of compassion and respect are being taught at home and at school.
  • Ms. Denson from The Learning Center reported that her first telephonic Speech Lesson with a younger child allowed for there to be total focus on speech. No distractions. Great lesson!
  • The  Upper School boys who are using the computers and high speed internet in Haskell Library have been models of self discipline and focus.
  • A third grader in Mrs. Hobb’s class shared the fulcrum project she made for science using a Barbie Doll.
  • Fifth grade teacher Selene Willis shared the following, "My favorite moment was this morning during CPR check in. One of my students said, 'I miss you guys and I’m glad we get to see each other even on Zoom.' Another said, 'I don’t know if I want to do this forever, real school is better!'"
  • Lower School music teacher, Ms. Marilyn Johnson, shared a musical recording sent by one of her students.

Certainly some of the most important silver linings and Mission moments have been the letters and notes students and family members have sent to teachers and administrators. The expressions of appreciation combined with stories of how families are meeting the challenges of social distancing and self isolation are inspiring. We - children and adults of all ages - are all facing a crisis unknown to our generations. We can take heart in knowing that previous generations survived and thrived during even worse situations. I am confident we will as well.

I am acutely aware of many of the stresses our teachers, staff, students and families were experiencing even before this crisis hit. We need to stay on course but we also need to give everyone the comfort and support that will nurture them during these unusual times. Love is important during times of stress and conflict. Take care and keep an eye out for the silver linings that will surely occur each and every day. (Shorecrest will continue to share stories like these on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.)

Cheers!

Mike

Shorecrest

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.