ACES Video Screenshot

A screen grab from the recent Arizona City Elementary School video shows teachers reaching out to their students.

ARIZONA CITY — Educators are continuing to find different ways to connect with their students following the statewide school closure, from parading through neighborhoods to creating a video with a heartfelt message.

Staff at Arizona City Elementary School and Toltec Elementary School decided to make videos for their students.

TES Vice Principal Nicole Hall decided to make a staff video after receiving a positive response for the teachers parade from a few weeks ago.

“We had received several messages that our students were so happy to see their teachers and that it made their week,” Hall said. “We also received feedback from the community that even families with no students in our district also loved the parade. Then I got to thinking that several of our students didn’t get to see the parade, so what could we do for those students that didn’t get that opportunity? Then I thought we could compose a staff video to post on our social media pages.”

At ACES, husband and wife Thomas and Angelica Paredes had seen a video on Facebook from a school in Australia where teachers were working from home and were sending a message to their students.

“After watching the video, we jokingly said to each other that we should make one for our school,” Thomas said. “From there we thought of what and how we could do it and presented the idea to our principal.”

Paredes and Hall presented the idea to the rest of the staff during a daily Skype meeting and asked for the staff to submit photos or recordings of themselves. Both campuses were eager to be involved and loved the idea.

“We expanded it to the rest of the staff at our campus because we have so many that are doing work whether on campus, at home and even within the community,” Thomas said.

According to Thomas, gathering the files is what took the most time as Angelica put the video together in a few hours.

“Once we shared it with everybody, it was well received by the staff,” he said. “A lot of them mentioned that it did make them emotional because we are truly missing our students and being on campus with everyone. It validated our own feelings that we’re all enduring this together.”

The video was also shared on ClassDojo and Facebook for the students and parents to see, and they have also given a positive response.

“Overall, it was a heartwarming experience for us and I’m sure for the rest of our staff as well,” Thomas said. “Our main goal was to make a fun video for our students that will hopefully make them smile, laugh and show that we miss them. Even though we are not together, we are trying to do as much as possible for them from campus and home to continue the learning process.”

The TES video also received positive feedback from students and parents. Hall mentioned that some of the responses have been from students saying, “I miss you guys too,” and some parents have said, “You are heroes,” and “Our kids miss you so much.”

“One parent said the video made one of her children cry because they miss everything about school,” Hall said. “The closure of schools has been hard for our families as well as our staff. I talk with staff members daily that say, ‘We want to come back or we miss our students.’ So whatever we can do to put a smile on their faces, we’ll do it.”