Before you call, I will answer and while you are yet speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24.
March 2020 started with a worldwide pandemic as the number grew of individuals who contracted the coronavirus. We all watched in horror as case after case ended in death. Governors were contemplating what to do to help slow the cases in their own states. The only solution at the time was to shut down the states. This would cause everything to come to a stop. Non-essential businesses such as restaurants, clothing stores, sports and entertainment venues, churches, and schools were instructed to close their doors. Citizens were asked to shelter in place and only go to essential places like the grocery store, pharmacy, and doctor visits.
This unprecedented dilemma caused issues for parents and students nationwide. At such a pivotal point in the school year and increased student growth rates, DAJA did not want to lose the momentum of academic success. Deciding to pull from our technology resources and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we looked to virtual school as our solution.
Interestingly, when Principal Johnson came on board, two years ago, creating a “paperless” DAJA was a part of her vision. First, she asked God for wisdom and then direction. Then, she applied for and was approved for the Google Suite for Education (GSE) in which a solid virtual future could be built. Next, the licenses to connect the students to the GSE were purchased. Finally, Chromebooks for each upper-grade student were purchased. Thus, a platform for digital learning was set in motion, long before any of the issues brought on by COVID 19.
Yet, with all the technology and associated licenses, digital learning could not have been successful without our committed educators. The Sunday, prior to our first day online, DAJA teachers met all day to determine the logistics for school-wide success. Several factors were considered, and more than several issues were addressed. Details for digital learning stemmed from the work schedules of parents, to our kinesthetic students, to students without internet and technology devices. All issues were discussed, and each issue planned for.
While the planning played a major role, it was the constant communication with our parent community that ultimately created success. We held virtual meetings weekly to keep our families informed, to address their comments and concerns, and to keep them encouraged. We successfully met our parents’ and students’ academic needs but far more supported our community spiritually.