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Defining Resilience: DPS Teacher Appreciation 2021

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TRANSCRIPT: Resilience. You've heard this word a lot this past year. Before the pandemic, we saw it often in DPS classrooms. This past year, though? Resilience feels tougher to nail down, or describe. Because it's in almost everything we do...

Particularly everything a teacher does.

"Teachers have shown so much flexibility. And students have, too."

Annashay Salas is a reading intervention teacher at Goldrick Elementary School. For her, resilience is about keeping community together when community can't meet in-person.

"Community Meeting is one space that we have to really come together, because... since we can't, you know, have these big group events where we get to see everyone."

"Welcome to Community Meeting!"

"I had put the whole first slide show together, and I was getting ready to film it. We have this awesome panther stuffed animal. Preston. And I was like, you know what? I'm going to have Preston do it."

"Heeeey Goldrick Panthers! Happy Friday! It's me, Preeeeston!"

"Made him a funny voice, and it just went from there. Started doing, like, costumes on him. And the kids started writing him, like, questions and fan mail. Kids will come up to me and be like, 'We know it's you being Preston.' And I'm like, 'I don't know! I'm like, I think he uses my room for sure. Like, I can see paw prints all over my computer in the mornings.' And they're like... 'Hmm!'"

"And we want to celebrate our amazing multi-lingual learners!"

"We're all kids here, and just find that joy, and that goofiness, and that fun... which our teachers do a great job of doing anyway. But it's nice to have something that we share as a school."

For Denver Discovery School social worker, Julia Jones resilience is being the hope when hope is tough to find.

"This past year, has forced myself to think creatively. Think out of the box on how I engage with my students. Tracking down those students who have been... may have been lost during this uneasy time of the pandemic. So it has gotten me to think differently, and more on a one-to-one, heart-to-heart connection. We really pushed our teachers of writing letters home. Checking in with them. And then even when we went on our home visits, and nobody would answer the door, we made these little cards and said, 'Sorry we missed you!' with our pictures on it, with masks to say, we're still looking for you. Call us at this number if anything has changed. Really just being able to go past my comfort zone of doing a welfare check, or my comfort zone of calling mom. But really pushing past to say 'I'm here, and I'm going to continue to be here until you're ready to show up.'"

That's something Farrell B. Howell school nurse Richard Ruthersby has been reflecting on as well.

"Not only physical well-being, but their emotional well-being as well, is so important right now during the time of COVID. This is one of the projects that I spear-headed, which looks at different sayings and affirmations that kids can look into the mirror and read back to themself to build self-esteem and confidence. These words may be some of the few positive words that we hear as students, as adults, as humans."

(Student simulates use of an inhaler)

"As a health authority in the school setting, it was my responsibility to provide them..."

"Nine, ten."

"...the best information based on evidence and science."

(High five slap)


And, the best care.

"I'm very, very fortunate that I've partnered with Denver Health to bring in both dental services, in-school immunization services, and it's... those things are really important to the families."

"He's pretty familiar with most of us. And I just think he's a really cool nurse."

(Student breathes in)
"Okay, out."

"We try to bring those resources to the families where they are. I think that next year's going to be really impactful that we can bring that back, and increase those numbers of vaccinations in our kids, increase the referrals for dental services for our kids, and I'm looking forward to that."

"Numero cinco..."

Three different definitions of resilience, in the eyes of three educators who live it out every day.

"But when I hear the word resilience, like for myself, I hear the word hopeful."

"And I'm really fortunate that as a school nurse, I'm learning a whole new way of nursing."

"Whatever happens, we'll get through it. With... hopefully with a little bit of grace, and a lot of kindness."

For Denver Public Schools, I'm Ben McKee.

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