It isn’t easy to lead a group of middle school students during distance and hybrid learning. But the student leadership team at Lynden Middle School is doing what it can to bring the entire student body together and help everyone find a sense of connection.
The LMS ASB officers have met monthly with representatives from each class over video conferencing to discuss issues of importance to the student body and generate new ideas to create community and school spirit. A recent meeting resulted in a week full of spirit days, where students were encouraged to dress up and help build school culture.
A new tradition of hosting morning announcements through video, then posted on the online learning management system Canvas where all students go to access classes, has helped students “see” each other and promote community. “These video announcements also promote a daily social-emotional element with inspirational quotes, riddle contests and character challenges,” says Robert Kratzig, dean of students at Lynden Middle School. “All of these things help bring us together in a year when we can’t all physically be together in one spot.”
In November, student leaders hosted a virtual assembly to honor veterans. Students hand-wrote cards of thanks to veterans living in local assisted-living homes and also to family members of students. The virtual assembly featured a slide show tribute to local veterans.
In the same vein, school spirit assemblies have continued this school year, just virtually. “We have included the same elements of friendly competitions between grade levels, but instead of competing live, students film themselves completing a challenge, like stacking apples, balancing pop cans and fishing for candy canes,” says Kratzig. “It has helped involve students who normally wouldn’t feel comfortable getting up and doing this in front of a crowd.”