SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Independent School’s 2019-2020 school year came to a close on Friday, June 19. Due to the national health crisis and school closures, students from Saratoga Independent School spent the last few months engaged in remote learning from home.
The school has many end-of-year traditions that the students have grown to love, including Field Day, Yearbooks, an Art Show, a Variety Show, and Carnival. Usually these events are held in person, during the school day. This year, students and teachers came up with creative solutions to keep these traditions alive virtually.
Head of School Lisa Brown, said, “Our Saratoga Independent School community is extraordinarily strong. We have always put our students first and wanted to find a way to give them the community experience they have always appreciated during our year-end activities.”
A week full of events was enjoyed by all students, from the safety of their homes. “We have incredibly thoughtful and creative faculty and students. They worked together to make the end of the school year memorable,” stated Brown.
The first event was a car parade held at the school. Students saw their teachers and received their yearbooks, which included pages dedicated to remote learning. All teachers and staff wore masks, along with our mascot, Thunder the Moose.
Physical Education teacher Trish Bendon, aka Coach B, created a virtual Field Day for all grade levels. Each class section joined a live Zoom to compete against another class in at-home activities, including penguin walking, flip your lid, paper airplane corn hole, and more. Students enjoyed the friendly competition and opportunity to engage online with students from other classes.
Spanish teacher Lisa-Renee Ackerman, aka Señora Chocolate, created a Virtual Variety Show, which was shared online with the entire school community. A Padlet allowed viewers to offer virtual applause.
Art teacher Gabi Moore created a Virtual Art Show, showcasing student work, including box sculptures, paintings, shadow drawings, and even graphic design and videos.
On the last day of school, students usually participate in an outdoor carnival with booths designed and operated by our Intermediate, Fifth Grade, and Middle School students. This year was no different. Jeny Randall, Middle School Coordinator, led the charge to create a Virtual Carnival. Students designed booths held during live Zoom meetings where students participated in an array of carnival games.
In lieu of the usual Fifth Grade celebration, this year Fifth Graders received lawn signs to display at home to celebrate their graduation and move to Middle School.
Brown stated, “It was amazing to see the school community come together to create such wonderful activities. I am so happy the students ended this unusual school year with positive and meaningful memories.”
Brown expects that Saratoga Independent School will be open for education in person in the Fall. The school has already begun planning and implementing new health and safety measures. The 2020-2021 school year will mark the first year with all three Middle School grades and Brown is excited for the first S.I.S. 8th Grade graduation next spring.