A month in, the 2021-2022 school year looks markedly different for students not only across the nation, but in Everett and Saugus too. Students have resumed full-time in-person learning, but the change to the “new normal” after months of solitude and video meetings is an abrupt reversal for most adults – nevermind for the developing brains of students who still have to decide what they are going to wear to school or who they will sit with at lunch.
In order to ease this transition, The Pioneer Charter School, a K-12 system with campuses in Everett and Saugus, has started a series of community-building events and exercises to help students get reacquainted and develop new relationships with each other and with teachers and staff.
“Fun Fridays” includes indoor and outdoor after-school interactive activities like table games, dodgeball, ping pong, kickball and movies, so students can collaborate, compete and re-engage with each other.
A wide range of social enrichment clubs have also started again and students are gathering after school to participate in the Guitar Club, Math Club and Social Justice Club among dozens of others. Field trips have also resumed, and students have already visited the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
The school has seen great response by both students and staff to these programs. Sanela Jonuz, the Executive Director of the Everett campus noted: “Our Panthers are super excited about the new school year, as are we, and we want to make sure we address their academic and social emotional needs after a year in which they faced unprecedented challenges.”
The school is also implementing numerous academic initiatives to assess and address learning losses that developed over the course of the pandemic. PCSS started its year earlier than usual to give students extra time to transition back and provide teachers additional time to prepare learning plans. The school is hiring additional staff to help students both during and after school, and doubled the number of teacher-coaches to support teachers in the classroom. PCSS long-running Saturday tutoring program is running virtually.