connecting and showing care while apart

I had the opportunity to participate in a Zoom conversation with Phil Boyte and four Leadership Advisors from California. I believe that social distancing might be a little easier looking out your window at palm trees rather than a snow filled back yard.  You decide. We all work with Student Leadership at high schools of various sizes.  The conversation was fantastic. Below are some ideas and activities we shared with each other. 

Phil suggested we need to look at these ideas like a Rubik’s Cube.  An idea may not be an exact fit for your school or situation but if you turn it and look at it differently it can become a good fit. 

What are we doing for our Gr. 12s (Seniors)?  They may be losing the most because this is their last chance at high school.  Perhaps try some shout outs on social media highlighting good things they have done or are doing. If graduation ceremonies aren’t happening is there a way to modify those ceremonies rather than cancelling them. 


Let’s find ways to connect our kids and let them know we care about them and miss them. Here are some possible ideas: 

  • Netflix watch party – invite everyone to watch the same movie and then through social media or somewhere else have people share what they thought of the movie 
  • Send out “How are you doing?” messages through Remind, emails, or google classroom – tell them how you are doing with some details and invite them to share back with you 
  • Post short videos of staff with messages that they are thinking about the students and missing them 
  • Throwback Thursdays – post pictures of staff when they were in high school and have kids guess who that staff member is – maybe offer prizes like gift cards you can send in the mail 
  • Try other online contests where prizes can be given out 
  • Post selfies of staff holding a sign that says “Hang In There! #socialdistancetogetherness” 
  • Modify traditions – at Centennial we always put up everyone’s birthdays – perhaps post their names online (be careful with FOIP issues – I would post first name and first initial of last name) 
  • Check out other school’s social media accounts.  What are they doing? Twist the Rubik’s cube and make it work for you.  


How are your staff doing?  Sometimes we get so worried about the kids that we forget to take care of ourselves.  We were in the building for three days after there were no kids.  I tried to make myself more available to others for conversations and connections.  One friend told me about how their fiance was stuck in Turkey and how worried she was. I couldn’t do anything to solve the problem but hopefully listening helped a bit. 

  • Try setting up zoom chats with your department or different staff members just to check in 
  • Share pictures of funny things that have happened or what is making you crazy with social distancing 
  • How has home schooling been tougher than teaching at school for those that have kids? 


Phil asked us this question.  “Who are the ghosts in your school?” Meaning who are those staff and students who sometimes don’t get noticed and perhaps forgotten.  How can you make a connection with some of those people? 

Last big idea

Let’s reinforce for our students how serious this is in a positive way.  Help them understand why schools have been shut down.  Help them understand this could take a while but we have no choice. Thank them for being socially responsible. Thank them for carrying on with a positive attitude. 

You are awesome.  Thank you for being a change agent in your school and community in these trying times. 

Please share any ideas or tips you may have by commenting on this post. 

Stay safe and find a way to have some fun! 

For more Phil Boyte ideas and his podcast go to or the Learning For Living Facebook Page.

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