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Clayton sees resilience of teachers during shutdown

MADISON – Making extra telephone calls and staying active on social media have assumed a greater importance, especially for teachers to reach out to students during the schools shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Brian Clayton.

Clayton is Principal of James Clemens High School.

“I have tried to do my best to be a presence on social media and communicating through email,” Clayton said. “Also, I have been involved in meal distribution, so I have seen some of our students doing that.”

“In education the only thing that is consistent is change,” Clayton said. The tornado aftermath in 2011 presented difficult challenges, “but in that situation you knew you would be back to a new normal soon.”

Like their colleagues across Madison, James Clemens teachers are communicating with their students with a variety of media sources, including phone calls; Google Chat, also called Google Talk, that lets computer users to communicate by text for voice in informal conversations or as a team workspace; social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and emails.

“Our parents have been very positive with our ‘new normal,’” Clayton said. “Our teachers are working really hard, and I think that the parents are very appreciative.”

Students and teachers are adapting to the time away from the classroom. “I think there will be some lagging in achievement due to this change. I know our teachers are being very creative to prevent this (lag),” Clayton said.

Clayton believes that social growth on campus at school is vital for students. “This (growth) is obviously difficult in this time,” he said.

Whether students are in a normal classroom setting or applying online learning, Clayton hopes parents are involved at a level that assists students with their education. “I don’t think that ever changes despite the medium of instruction,” he said.

“I would like to say that I am very proud of all of the teachers and staff in the unprecedented times,” Clayton said. “The resilience of our employees in this situation is very impressive. The dedication to our students is always present but very evident during this time.”

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