Creating Meaningful Community Connections
Lincoln Community School, Accra faced COVID-19 with the best laid plans thanks to the foresight and planning by our Head of School, Sheena Nabohlz, and our leadership team. Our COVID-19 response task force was established in late January. The team created the LCS Decision Making Protocol which was communicated to our community via our school app on February 4. Our detailed e-learning plans were also put in place and communicated with our community. Although we did not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our LCS Community, neither among students, their families nor staff, on March 13 LCS school closure was announced. Kristina Dunlevy, LCS Board Chair shared, “We stand together with our friends in Ghana and around the world to minimize contact to help prevent the spread of the virus.”
Guided by our mission to learn, lead and connect, as well as our LCS Learning Principles, distance learning plans outlined the principles around distance learning, as well as the roles of teachers, parents and students. Distance learning at LCS is based on the following objectives:
- to provide focused learning experiences consistent with our LCS mission and LCS Learning Principles
- to provide students with choice and flexibility in place
- to provide teacher-crafted, meaningful learning experiences based on learner outcomes for the current units within each subject
- to enable students to engage meaningfully with the learning opportunities provided by their teachers
- to continue to grow the class community through online relationships.
Our talented faculty began distance learning with their students on March 25.
Creating meaningful connections and informative opportunities for our parent community is an important facet of LCS and doing so during school closure took many forms. For example, a weekly parent Feedback Survey in the beginning weeks of distance learning was sent out via our app for parent feedback. Each divisional short survey assisted in steering our evolution of online learning by leaning into the needs of the community. Parents also had an opportunity to share their comments from what might be going particularly well or concerns they might be worried about, by connecting through a personal phone call with a leadership team member. We held our first ever PTO virtual coffee with an opportunity to engage with our Head of School, as well as virtual parent-teacher-student conferences. Parents could connect virtually and attend our Annual General Meeting or watch the recording if missed. School Board Elections were held through online voting. In addition, there was always an opportunity to reach out to our Head of School, any leadership team member or faculty member. By creating greater bonds between us, we forged a deeper appreciation of our community.
The next step for community connection is the creation of a reopening “back to school” task force, that includes parents, developing our re-entry strategy that prioritizes the health and safety of our community.
“I believe this collaboration will allow us to return to campus in the 2020-2021 school year ready to tackle any challenge and to continue providing a rich learning program.” Sheena Nabholz summed up meaningful community connections well when she said, “As a community we are managing to come together despite the distance between us and that feels very special”. Very special indeed.