March 12, 2020 was one of very few unhappy days at Newark Academy. The announced closure of the campus due to the coronavirus pandemic left both students and faculty with great uncertainty. Yet just a few weeks later, after a Spring Break filled with skill-building and lesson-plan revisions, the NA faculty and staff were back, delivering educational excellence remotely. Drawing on the expertise of some of the most tech-savvy educators, including Instructional Technologist Stephanie Hammond, Newark Academy faculty members leaned into innovation to ensure that students could continue to learn and to fully engage in all aspects of the NA experience. From live-streamed science lab demonstrations and online art projects to work-out videos, online choral performances and remote school council elections, NA’s faculty and staff met the challenges of creating a “new normal” for students during the nearly three-month long shutdown.
To recognize and express appreciation for these efforts, parents and students made gifts to the NA Annual Fund as part of Teacher Appreciation Day on May 7. While several of the gifts honored the entire faculty and staff, most of the gifts were given as a special “thank you” to one or more teachers who were making an impact on the lives of the donating student and his/her family. Teachers and staff members who were honored with such gifts received personal notes of appreciation. As one NA faculty member noted, “There is no better gift to receive from a student or parent than hearing them say ‘thank you for your efforts.’ It really means the world to us.” Teacher Appreciation Day contributed a total of nearly $25,000 to the Annual Fund – and a year’s worth of smiles on the faces of the faculty.