The coronavirus pandemic feels like something that is being done to us. There is a sense of powerlessness as we watch our world’s contract into our homes. But our response to the crisis can be something that we can do together.

During the next few weeks Ionia Public Schools will make a concerted effort to listen to our students, parents, staff and community members. We need your feedback as we enter our third week of distant learning. Accordingly, we need to survey teachers, students, and families about how things are going.

A simple three-question survey can gather valuable data:


How are you?
What has been going well for you?
What could we do more of, or do better, to help your learning?”

I would like teachers to ask these questions of students; schools to ask these questions of parents; our district to ask these questions of faculty and families.

In the current scramble to remote learning, it may feel like nothing is more important than making something work for tomorrow or next week. However, I am concerned our current virtual leaning reality may continue into the next school year.

Given all of the challenges that we have encountered gearing up to teach remotely during this crisis, we need to invest substantial time in planning for improving our delivery model for summer and fall.

A friend, Allen Einstein shared some information with me this week and encouraged me to share it with you. It focuses on brain research and some great ideas to enhance your child’s learning.

Allen said, “When it comes to your brain, researchers have found there's no better superfood than a book. Reading aloud gives you a chance to explore new stories and spend quality time with your family."

He goes on to share the following recommendations from the National Education Association:


Make It a Tradition — Pick a place and time to read together, like at the table after dinner or in a pillow fort before bed.
Find a Favorite Book — Children often love to hear their favorite stories over and over. Repetition helps them get used to certain words.
Limit Distractions — Set aside electronics and turn off the TV or any background music.
Let Your Children Help — Let younger children hold the book, turn the pages, and point to words and pictures.
Take Books with You — Keep books and writing materials on hand when you leave the house. You’ll never miss a chance for a quick story time.

— Ron Wilson is superintendent of Ionia Public Schools. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily represent the views of Ionia school elected officials, employees, or students. Contact Ron by email at nimsob321@gmail.com.