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'One Lonely Principal:' Schools get creative while working remote

Posted at 6:33 AM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 06:36:22-04

GRAND RAPIDS — Say hello to the "One Lonely Principal, also known as Mr. Ross Willick.

He's the principal at Zinser Elementary in the Kenowa Hills School District.

He was looking for a creative way to connect with students.

"It's just an eerie quiet building now, and it's sad in some ways," Willick said. "But at the same time, it was a chance to kind of get some laughs and find a way to make light of the situation."

It worked, too. Mr. Willick's video has been seen more than 14,000 times, and he said the students loved it. He also said he's not surprised: it's just the culture and community at Kenowa Hills, even during the pandemic.

There's more creativity in the Kenowa Hills district. The Facebook page at Central Elementary is alive with creativity that includes the staff and the students.

On their first day of remote learning, Principal Dr. Cherie Horner had the students post pictures of their work spaces at home.

"It was cool to see all the kiddos in their pajamas, as well too so that was fun to see that, you know, learning, truly can take place, anytime, anyplace anywhere," Horner said. The students really are buying in, and when the pandemic is over, they could have a "new normal" when it comes to education.

"A lot of times, we do what we're used to doing because we're comfortable with it. And this really forced us to get out of our comfort zone and also engage with the students in a way that a lot of them need to be engaged with. So, now I don't think we can go back. I don't think it's the responsible or prudent thing to do."

If you'd like more information about helping your kids learn from a distance, check out the Michigan Department of Education website.