One of the few fun bi-products of this nightmare that we are experiencing is a trend that elementary school staffs have started. The trend of School Parades.
The staff of an elementary school organizes a “parade” of staff cars to tour through the neighborhood that the school serves. Working best when giving a heads up to the parents, or maybe just sorta surprising the neighborhood since everyone should be home anyway.
As the staff drives through the neighborhood, they honk and have banners on the cars “Hi kids! It’s Miss Wilson!” “I miss you!”.
The kids come out to their front porch (maybe with their own banners), get to wave to the school staff and maybe their teacher as they drive by their house or apartment.
It’s a fun little break to the form of hell we currently live in.
I can tell you, as a dad of a grade-school kid who I thought would love not having to go to school… even she misses it. These kids are starving for any kind of bright light or fun change to their day. So these parades are kinda rad.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have a job that is “essential services” and it can not be done from home. So I’m out there in the mess almost everyday (you probably should stay away from me).
While out in the soup (The Soup is what I like to call going out in the world now – “outside the gates” if you are a Walking Dead fan) on Friday I witnessed Fresno Unified’s Olmos Elementary’s parade through the neighborhood. I choked up.
I have no tie to Olmos, no real reason to get emotional or anything, but I did.
Maybe it’s because I have not stopped to process anything going on right now and this was the first time. Maybe it was from being a dad. Maybe it was the joy the kids were experiencing and knowing how much they miss their school life. Maybe it’s because I’m a total cry-er at joyful events (please don’t look at me during weddings or while watching the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team beat the Russians).
Whatever reason it was, I had to compose myself. Here is one that FUSD’s Susan B Anthony did:
This trend is not without a little controversy though.
Not every school is into it. Feeling being, it might look bad being out there when we are telling everyone to stay home. And, well, what about large apartment complexes? That could easily spill into a gathering of kids that would not be gathering otherwise.
I get this take. I am a big believer of the staying at home model. I am not here to second guess. The school principles know better how to handle these things and adjust it to their school’s neighborhood.
I am just here to tell you, seeing one in person, it was fun. I would encourage schools that have not done it yet, to try it. Make it as big a deal (while being safe) as you can.
Speaking of fun things during this dark time, Fresno Unified Superintendent, Bob Nelson, has been awesome through this and has even gotten a little bit of national attention for his reading and ukulele videos: