Lovett Elementary School, too, has been inventive in its commitment to serve parents and teachers. Lovett Principal Dr. Mike Pope requested that most of the PTO’s efforts for the 2020-21 school year focus on boosting teacher morale, as teachers in the district are currently negotiating a hybrid learning plan, with students attending school in two separate groups on different days during the week, along with some students electing to complete all of their work virtually (online) via district-provided iPads.
Students designated as “Team Clinton” are in school buildings or on Zoom on Mondays and Tuesdays, and students identified as “Team Arrows” are in person or Zoom learners on Thursdays and Fridays. On the other days, students have online work.
“It’s going to be a tough year for teachers, since [what we’re ask- ing them to do] is all new to them,” Pope noted.
Since Lovett is a single-grade school, fundraising has traditionally been difficult, but Pope and Stephens both remarked that they were making that work to their advantage this year.
“We’re still selling [school-centered] merchandise,” Stephens confirmed. For the parents of virtual students who contribute to the school’s fundraising campaign by purchasing these items, Stephens quite literally goes the extra mile, offering to deliver the products to individual homes.
“I’ll leave things on the porch or ‘mask up’ in the car if people want to come outside,” Stephens said. Stephens attempts to bring this consideration into other areas of the PTO’s involvement, offering PTO meetings via Zoom and using the group’s Facebook page multiple times per day to keep parents informed of upcoming dates and to help them navigate the year’s unique schedule.
“We don’t want anybody to feel excluded. They need something to feel normal,” Stephens said. The Lovett PTO is bringing this normalcy to its teachers by providing meals and various other “happies,” such as snacks, nice notes or soft drinks. By providing smaller but more frequent offerings for the faculty rather than its typical large-scale events, Stephens and her team are able to work within the confines of the allotted budget, which is raised by volunteers’ donations and support of designated fundraisers.
Stephens and Lenoir don’t use the PTOs’ Facebook pages only for PTO information, either. Instead, they also employ the platform to help communicate school and districtwide information to parents in this time of new and rapidly changing schedules.
In addition, the ladies monitor their pages to help parents who have school-related questions get answers, even if the question isn’t directly related to the PTO.
“It’s pretty simple. We want to help our schools’ administration communicate with parents in any way we can. We want to show our teachers how much we support them, and we want all parents to be informed and involved, no matter whether their child is in-person schooling this year or virtual schooling.
We’re all in this together,” said Stephens.