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Kingsmen Stories


Thursdays Are Special for CHS Middle Schoolers

May 27, 2020
By Kingsmen Website
Thursdays Are Special for CHS Middle Schoolers

Placing yourself inside a famous painting.  Working as a team to compile an outrageous trick-shot video or design the farthest-flying paper airplane.  Creating a sculpture out of everyday objects.  Baking something with raisins and sharing it with your family.

Not exactly your typical school day!  Activities like these are creative, educational, and community-building.  Which is why they’re all part of distance learning for CHS middle-schoolers, every Thursday.

It’s Thursdays-in-the-Middle, an opportunity to make the most of what distance-learning can be: free-form, open-ended, challenging, collaborative, and fun.

When CHS initiated distance learning in response to COVID-19, the first priority was ensuring that students would experience a robust, well-coordinated learning experience, even at a distance.  But that wasn’t enough, according to Dr. Parrish, CHS upper school principal.  “The conversation quickly shifted to, ‘now how can we continue caring for the whole child, cultivating that sense of community that our students experience when we are all together?’” recounts Dr. Parrish.

So, while other days of the week follow a traditional academic model of virtual classes, readings, and assignments, Thursdays in the Middle provides CHS middle schoolers with a break from screen-time and regimented schedules – a flexible day for students to pray and worship, create, exercise, serve, explore, and play, with suggested activities in each category.  Students are organized into teams and can tackle optional challenges, submitting photos or videos to earn group points.

“One of the best surprises that I have witnessed is that whole families are participating in some of the challenges. I did not see that coming,” reflects Dr. Parrish.

The flexible schedule of Thursdays-in-the-Middle also allows teachers and students to connect in special ways, providing support, building relationships, and bridging the “distance” inherent in distance learning. 

Participation in online “lunch buddy” groups as been “huge,” according to Dr. Parrish.  Over the last few weeks, teachers and students shave hared lunch together via online conferences -- showing off household pets, telling jokes, or simply chit-chatting.  “These sweet moments of community helped both students and teachers feel more connected,” says Mrs. Baylis, who helped set up the events.  Middle school parents have appreciated these moments as well.  “It was so nice to hear my daughter connecting with her friends and teachers,” said one mom.  “My daughter loved this…I am a grateful middle school parent!” expressed another.

Teachers also use Thursdays to connect with struggling students and provide extra help in classes.

“It’s great to have these avenues to connect,” reflects Dr. Parrish. “Our community’s embracing of these activities shows that we are in this together and we need each other.”