Perspective: David Bird, School Without Walls
All means all. It’s a simple phrase, but it is a great descriptor for Elkhart Community Schools because we (teachers, administrators, support staff) are working hard to make sure ALL students in ECS are getting the support and services necessary to be successful in school and in life. For example, the School Without Walls (SWW) program was created to reach out to students who were not graduating due to “falling through the cracks”. By taking the instruction to the student instead of forcing the student to come to us, we have been able to provide the education that was starting to become elusive for many students. We utilize technology to connect with these students, but that does not mean we lose that personal touch. Each day 25 to 30 students come to our classroom space at the Elkhart Area Career Center to work on their classes or take a test; some stay all day, while others are in and out in under an hour. That gives us the opportunity to interact with and support the kids. Additionally, we touch base daily with the other 170+ students who do their school work remotely, thus making sure all means all at SWW.
When I say “we,” I am referring to the incredible team at School Without Walls that truly embraces their role of ‘being responsible for the learning and well-being of all ECS students.’ Without the support of Brent Curry, Lacey Curry, Missy Grose, Bryan Hammontree, and Raul Hernandez, our students might have fallen completely through the cracks, but now they are moving toward their high school diplomas with greater confidence and success. Using technology to deliver content and not seeing the students every day does not deter us from establishing the necessary connections and relationships that let students know we care about them. All means all around here because we have high expectations for our students and want them all to be successful. We have been given a unique opportunity to meet the needs of our students in myriad ways, which is not only challenging, but exciting as well.
The Elkhart Promise states “every student is known by name” and that holds true for digital learning as well as classroom learning. This is something we at SWW take seriously because we need to know ALL of our students so we can provide them with the proper level of support for success. From my perspective, this is what I see happening in ECS as a whole; from the Pre-K classrooms all the way through to Adult and Community Education, we are all working to ensure all really does mean ALL.
David M. Bird, Principal
School Without Walls