In this paper, a Principal and two lead teachers describe the ways their school community has reimagined the learning environment at their NYC urban, public, K-5 elementary school throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020 they were forced to immediately switch to fully remote learning, a platform they had never previously experienced. Since then, they have engaged in hybrid and now fully in person learning through a worldwide pandemic. The school community, whose focus before the pandemic was on social emotional learning and culturally responsive pedagogy, utilized those practices and the strong relationships between staff, students and families in order to persevere. The pandemic disporportionately impacted communities of color, like the one this school community is located in. Other inequalities such as food insecurity, job loss, sickness, financial strain and death impacted the community. Racial trauma and political unrest that was exacerbated during the pandemic also placed a toll on the school community. The staff, families and children of the community joined together with a mission to support one another, strengthen relationships, practice self care, address trauma and crisis, tackle unfinished learning, and focus on celebrating the community wherever possible as a way to find joy, survive and thrive.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Dawn Brooks DeCosta, Danica Goyens Ward, Michael Cornell