TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — School is looking a lot different for students all over the state of Indiana but Tippecanoe County principals are working to maintain a sense of normalcy, with a bit of a twist.
Morning announcements are how students typically start their day in the classroom, now that everything is digital Southwestern Middle School Principal Sarah Gustin is using virtual videos and social media trends to help parents and students adjust to this temporary normal we're facing. Instead of simply reading school announcements, she's adding a little fun by dancing and lip-syncing to popular TikTok videos.
“Neuroscience teaches us that connections are so important and essential so I wanted to find a way to kind of maintain that connection in the best way that I could,” said Gustin.
She said her middle schoolers love TikTok so she felt they would enjoy her using it as a tool to give them the information they need while keeping them engaged.
Principal Gustin said teachers and parents have been feeling the pressures of this abrupt change in learning. That's why creating something to look forward to is at the forefront.
“We're not homeschooling right now, we're crisis schooling,” said Gustin. “This is not a situation where pressure needs to be placed on you, on the children, on the staff, the most important thing is that we all communicate and make this situation as much of a positive one as we can.”
Battle Ground Principal John Pearl agrees. He's also finding creativity with his morning announcements. His latest video took place in his barn, where he got to show his students some animals.
“It's unfortunate that we're not getting together to get any sort of closure but when we return in the fall, I am sure we'll have lots of handshakes and hugs to those teachers that we left so unexpectedly,” said Pearl.
James Cole Elementary Principal Michael Pinto said while these videos are a way for students and parents to feel connected It's also fulfilling something in the principals as well.
“This allows me a little bit of an itch to be scratched in terms of doing the videos because at least I know that I'm putting myself out there and that hopefully, I'm connecting,” said Pinto.
Even at home, these principals say the love is still there and they hope students continue following the Tippecanoe School Corporation motto, “Treat people right and do the right.”
The principals send their announcement videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Many teachers have incorporated their own videos in their virtual classrooms for students as well.