‘Renewed happiness’: SACS adjusting to new normal

Return to Learn

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Southwest Allen County Schools made the Return to Learn in August. Since then, schools have made adjustments impacting both students and teachers.

“The kids have been fantastic,” Superintendent Philip Downs says.

Downs says that for the most part, returning to school has gone according to plan, some rough edges just needed some sanding off. For example, elementary students that quarantine are now sticking with their original teacher while virtual learning instead of being assigned to a different virtual teacher.

Leading up to the school year created many nerves for school workers. Most of those nerves were working on how to create as normal of a school year as possible for students, and not just a year revolving around COVID.

Downs says that teacher’s workload has tremendously increased and it has been trying for them. Instead of focusing on academics, teachers are now required to think about academics along with safety, different ways of running the classroom, and developing all new materials. It’s similar to being a first year teacher all over again but Downs is proud of the work they each are putting into their students.

“What they’ve done to step up and be creative and solve problems and work with families and kids, it’s inspirational,” Downs says.

Aboite Elementary School Principal, Richelle Miller, is proud of the work teachers have done to be creative with students. “At first I do think the kids felt like this is such a different year, now that we’re in the swing of it, it’s kind of our new normal and they’re just kids laughing and having a good time and really enjoying school,” Miller says.

Despite a year unlike every before, spirits are high at Southwest Allen County Schools.

“There seems to be a renewed happiness about being at school and connected with people. I think we feel a whole lot better being able to be around each other,” Dr. Downs says.

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