Book fairies, virtual spirit week cheer up students at Sippican School
MARION — Though a pandemic is keeping teachers and students at Sippican School physically apart, administrators are working hard to give back to students and the Marion community, and to keep students and teachers connected through optional Zoom sessions, book fairs and more.
The school has kept all of its teachers and cafeteria staff on salary, even with the staff working on a rotating basis. The district also offers families the chance to pick up produce once a week and is deciding whether it will continue the meal program into the summer.
Teachers also made a special effort to organize their students’ belongings, write notes and give each grade time to pick up their belongings from the building.
School Committee member April Rios said “As a parent it was one of the hardest things since March 13. It really kind of hit home for all of us that day. I want to thank the teachers, who not only packed up students’ belongings, but did so with care.”
Rios said that her son got a note from teachers and School Library Teacher Jessica Barrett got him some books he had wanted to check out for the summer.
Sippican School Principal Marla Sirois said that Isabelle’s in Mattaposiett and Village Toy in Fairhaven donated toys to children when they came to pick up their belongings.
“Seeing the looks on kids’ faces was priceless,” she said.
The school will hold additional distribution days for students who do not yet have their belongings.
Going beyond Zoom classes, the school held a virtual Spirit Week, and is now holding fun optional sessions for students. It also plans to move popular events online, like Vocabulary Day and the school’s talent show.
Sippican School also held its book fair by sending home books and generous “book fairies” purchased books for 40 students who otherwise might not have gotten one, Sirois said.
From donating its 3D printer to make face-shields, to getting involved with the town’s Memorial Day celebration, the school is still “continuing to be an integral part of everything that's happening in the Marion community,” Sirois said.
Committee member Nichole Daniel said that with her son, “any time he has a question or an issue, his teacher hops right on Zoom.” She praised teachers, and said, “all of the extra time that they have put in just goes to show how much of a community Marion really is.”
Sirois also said the Special Education department has been stellar and “can’t say enough about the hard work they have done” with extra support Zoom sessions and weekly grade level team meetings.
“My heart is just filled,” said School Committee Chair Michelle Smith after hearing all the positives. She added, “no one knows what school will look like in September but for students, their learning and safety will continue to be priority.”