Classes are closed.
But, yes, classes continue virtually these days at Donelson Christian Academy.
No. We got this.
Donelson Christian Academy is a phoenix rising these days. Scoured by an EF-3 tornado last month, they got this.
Donelson Christian took a wallop and appears to have emerged just fine. These last months of school continue. And while the tornado did a number on their school, and the CORONA-19 virus kept students from meeting at assigned auxiliary facilities to finish out the year, teachers have gone above and beyond to keep it going.
Virtual classes continue, thanks to teachers like Ellen Deathridge. She teaches fourth grade and is representative of all the teachers at the school.
“Our elementary side was structurally sound,” she said. “No classrooms were lost. But, we are outside the classroom.”
Deathridge and her fellow fourth-grade teachers planned and planned how to manage the integrity of their curriculum post tornado and now COVID-19.
“We plan together,” she said. “We know our students’ abilities.”
For example, online her students are reading “Ruby Holler.”
“We have worked hard all year long, and we need to continue to grow,” she said.
Students grow in these weird days in Facetime and Zoom.
“We get to see our faces,” said Deathridge. “Yes, we could send a packet, but that doesn’t cut it. We have a verbal and written platform that give us connection to our kids and parents.”
Zoom is an app teachers use to set up a connection that allows classmates to see each other.
At Donelson Christian, students can connect for an early devotion. Then, there are online math and reading classes.
“And, whenever they want, we have additional activities available such as art, Spanish, and PE,” said Deathridge.
And while 100 percent of students signed on for the virtual rest of year, some log on for certain parts and others don’t.
The teachers have a report and know who logs on and who takes part in actual studies.
“We send reminders,” she said.
Deathridge said the teachers plan together and do their best in during the strange times.
“We want it to continue,” she said. “We know our students’ abilities. We have worked all year long. We want to continue and grow. Our No. 1 goal is to see our faces. We continue verbal and written communication.
She said a packet does not cut it these days.
“Connection is the deal with kids,” she said.
Deathridge co-teaches with Eric Barbour and Tabitha Ingram. She admitted she’s a little slow on the technology end, but her colleagues have gotten her up to speed.
Students have no more than two hours of lessons at home, she said.
Art and music are special times any student can log on to experience.
“We are learning week to week,” she said. “It’s a new world.”
Headmaster Keith Singer said things are progressing. He had the horrible toll of the tornado, and the COVID-19 pandemic to deal with two weeks later.
“These are unprecedented times,” he said.
“We are so impressed with the teachers here [and] their accomplishments in such a short time. They now are friends on screen, and we are trying to have some semblance of normalcy.”
There are 43 seniors ready to receive diplomas at Donelson Christian Academy. Graduation is set for May 16 at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church.
“They will still get their diplomas,” said Singer. “We are trying to be creative for them to finish the line. There are options.”