GCSD makes best out of school closure

MOORE HAVEN — Since COVID-19 has required schools to close, the Glades County School District (GCSD) has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of their “family.” This county may be small, but it has BIG heart. The community prides itself in caring for each other and the hometown feel across all campuses. Superintendent Kim Jordan knows that servicing the whole child leads to success and a lifetime love of learning.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/GCSD
Glades School District Teacher of the Year Toni Marie Garcia receives her appreciation sign.

During the first few weeks of distance learning, GCSD reported serving over 10,000 meals to students. Meals are delivered to bus pick-ups and are available to pick up at campuses, all while following CDC guidelines. In fact, the food service staff prepares at least two warm meals a week to provide further comfort and nourishment to students. The district will continue meal delivery throughout the summer.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/GCSD
Moore Haven Middle High School English teacher Sabrina Gonzalez receives her appreciation sign from the administration.

While at home, students and teachers participated in restorative circles via Google Chats and Zoom calls. West Glades School in LaBelle implemented the practice years ago as a way to understand and connect with students as a whole. The circle process allows students to tell their stories and offer their own perspectives (Pranis, 2005). The restorative circle has a wide variety of purposes: conflict resolution, healing, support, decision-making, information exchange and relationship development. ”While we are not forming traditional circles, the theory of practice is embedded throughout our e-learning process. Now more than ever, our students need be heard, understood and supported,” Ms. Jordan said.

The involvement doesn’t stop with students. This week, district leaders recognized Teacher Appreciation Week by traveling hundreds of miles to deliver appreciation packages and yard signs to instructional staff, custodians, bus drivers, food service staff, maintenance and secretaries. The yard signs, that say “Glades Education is HEART work” were provided by the Glades County School Board and Superintendent Jordan. A week that is usually full of home-cooked and catered meals provided by PTO, administration, and sponsors turned into a packet full of gift cards to local restaurants while educators work from home. Glades District Teacher of the Year Toni Marie Garcia proclaimed “I work for the kind of people who drive over 300 miles in a day to hand deliver everyone on their staff a teacher appreciation gift … I work alongside some of the most amazing humans there are.”

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/GCSD
Moore Haven Elementary School teacher Susan Prowant receives her appreciation sign.

Over the next few weeks and months the students and Glades County family will remain a priority for the district. “It is in times like these that our education system has a chance to teach lessons of kindess, patience, empathy and love. These are lessons that I hope all our students learn while in our school system,” said Ms. Jordan before getting to work on a forthcoming crisis hotline.

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