Doane Stuart

Finding a Way

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”  ~American Author -Robert Fulghum

 How do you teach critical thinking? Problem Solving? Resilience? Grit? 

When unprecedented challenges presented themselves in 2020, the Doane Stuart school administration and faculty took on the daunting task of finding a way in unchartered waters. Despite the mandatory school closures last March, we wanted to stay together. Foresight, quick action and determination initiated the training needed for us to pivot to our Academic Continuity Plan; allowing us to finish out the school year together. When our seniors sought more than a “virtual graduation” last June, there was much discussion and work involved for us to be able to gather on the Doane Stuart fields in August. Family pods of four were strategically set up so that we could celebrate safely. CDC and NYS guidelines were followed, prescreening health forms were distributed and the Class of 2020 found closure, together.

From September through December, we have been fortunate to be able to provide in-person instruction, without interruption, COVID free — because thoughtful plans have been put into place and each member of our community is doing their necessary part. During the warmer weather, we utilized our beautiful Green Roof for math and science. We brought our instruments and music classes to our fountain, streamed visiting colleges to our classrooms, played between plexiglass, learned sign language in substitution of song, and successfully completed two theatrical performances on campus. We sent cards to Veterans instead of hosting them in person and continued to focus on service-learning projects that will help our community even though we couldn’t visit with them. We wore masks, followed one-way traffic in our hallways, and maintained our distance from one another. We washed our hands, a lot, so we could remain together. We found a way and are learning that through trial and error come great accomplishments.

These innovative examples of perseverance won’t be found in a textbook or lecture. They are the hands-on, day-to-day lessons that our students are experiencing for themselves. They are evidence that the spirit of Doane Stuart is strong. That it resides in the importance of faith and its ability to overcome; to find a way. They are happening because, at Doane Stuart, we hold fast to the belief that traditions are a promise. 

As the new year begins, we find ourselves moving forward in the same light, continuing our efforts to find a way in still, unchartered waters. As we do so, we are ever mindful that how we proceed will be recorded in the minds of our students, becoming the life-lessons from which they will go forward with for years to come.

How do you teach critical thinking? Problem-solving? Resilience? Grit?   Perhaps, by example.

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