ISHPEMING — Hallways and classrooms have been empty for weeks due to the ongoing pandemic, but that doesn’t mean teachers aren’t hard at work.
Principal Matthew Byce says the teachers at Birchview Elementary School in Ishpeming didn’t let COVID-19 prevent them from providing their students with what they need.
“They woke up one morning knowing that they weren’t going to be able to have a tomorrow with their students for the foreseeable future,” says Principal Byce. “And within eight hours of them being awake, we had to gather our thoughts and put things in motion and make decisions and try to come up with some kind of a solution to this problem. So our teachers and our staff here at Birchview really rose to the occasion; there wasn’t any hesitation by anybody. It was just, ‘Alright, let’s get focused, let’s come up with a solution, and let’s work through this problem together as a team.'”
Teachers have been going the extra mile for their students, whether that’s by sending books and hands–on activities to students, leaving signs in their yards to let them know they’re missed, class Zoom calls, or a number of other actions.
For the teachers at Birchview Elementary, it’s about more than just the academics. They’re continuing to invest in the educational, social, and emotional wellbeing of both the students and their families.
Principal Byce recalls, “I overheard one teacher, she was on the phone with a parent and she said, ‘I just want to know how you are doing. I’m not talking about academics; I’m talking about how you as a person are doing. How are you doing with food? How are you doing with bills? Is there anything I can do to help you?’ So we’re trying to be a resource that families can use so that we can all get through this together, and that’s the mentality that our staff has here at Birchview. I’m so proud of everyone here. It’s hard to put into words how much I appreciate and how proud I am of them.”
Principal Byce says these teachers’ incredible acts are examples of the same spirit they display all year long. This has been his first year as an administrator at Birchview, and he says he’s been amazed by their dedication in just that short period of time.
“They have the passion and the drive and the ability to do amazing things with the students, and they did all year long,” says Principal Byce. “And then when this pandemic came about, they kind of kicked it into another gear and rose to the occasion, and it’s exciting. It’s inspiring to watch these people work because they are miracle workers for sure.”