Cross-divisional connections at MICDS remained strong despite the physical separation of a distance learning environment. Upper School students volunteered their time to engage with Beasley students through virtual tutoring sessions and online classes, with support and guidance from Lower School faculty and staff. Harper Graves ’22 collaborated with Lower School Art Teacher Sarah Garner to deliver an engaging online art lesson for 4th graders. Students learned about the color wheel with a scavenger hunt and completed a hands-on, guided sketching exercise to draw doughnuts and ice cream cones.
In another virtual classroom hosted by Lower School Coordinator of Instructional Technology Greg Stevens, knowledge-hungry Beasley students seized the opportunity to learn about coding from Lucas McCarty ’21. McCarty developed a lesson to explore fundamental concepts of modern programming, including programs, loops, and variables, using simple analogies and even some fun movement exercises. McCarty said, “Throughout my time at MICDS, I have found programming to be a very important skill to learn. I wanted to share that knowledge and passion for this subject with these younger students in the hopes that they might be inspired to continue to learn about computer science as they continue their education.” ”
“It’s always a good thing to give back to the community. After all, it was the MICDS community that gave me the programming skills I have today.”
Lucas McCarty ’21
The Peer to Peer program also continued during distance learning, albeit in a condensed and virtual format. Student leaders focused their efforts on one final online session with 8th graders, who would soon be transitioning to the Upper School. The mentors met with small groups of 8th grade students via Zoom and answered questions about what to expect in the Upper School and how to thrive in the transition to 9th grade. They also shared their distance learning experiences thus far and found many common threads.
Fifth grade students provided similar insights to 4th graders about the Lower to Middle School transition. Also meeting over Zoom, 5th graders answered questions and provided advice to help their younger friends feel more at ease about moving on to Middle School, especially during these uncertain times.
Students of all ages reaped benefits from these experiences. In MICDS’ JK-12 community, younger students often look to older students as role models and teachers, and with the help of technology, that tradition remained strong. Many older students enjoy volunteering their time to help their younger peers, whether on campus or through a computer screen. With passion, teacher support, and some outside-the-box thinking, students succeeded in keeping cross-divisional connections alive and well during distance learning.