Member Spotlight: Christina Clark, Elementary Music Specialist
By Peggy Wirtz-Olsen
WEAC Vice President
Christina Clark, with 16 years of classroom experience as an Elementary Music Specialist in the Green Bay Area Public School District, has felt supported by her school district, parents of her students, and her colleagues with the virtual start to the school year. “The parental support I have received has been amazing,” Christina said.
When I asked Christina how things are going with the virtual classroom, she shared, “We’ve been doing a ton of singing with the kindergarten students, and they are so into it. My virtual classroom will have 16-18 students on the screen through Zoom Meets. I can see them clapping and spinning around throughout the songs. It has been so rewarding to see them enjoy and experience music, even if it is not in the traditional way.”
The Green Bay School District decided in early August that given concerns of the high number of COVID-19 cases in their community and the concern over community spread in their school buildings, they would opt for a virtual start to the school year. Christina said, “This early decision by the Green Bay School District’s School Board gave us all time to prepare. We used the weeks prior to the start of the year to prepare our online learning materials.” Christina and her colleagues were busy preparing lessons in Google Classroom, Seesaw, and We Video, and the school district offered many professional development opportunities specific to various grade levels and content areas.
Christina’s schedule is similar to a regular school day and her students are working from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with an hour lunch break. Their activities range from full group instruction, small group instruction, and individual work time, and her students have one specialty class like music, art, or physical education, every day. Christina said, “The Green Bay School District is focused on building community and making sure that the social aspect of education is not lost. It means that our students have half an hour of community circle time in the morning and again in the afternoon.”
When I asked Christina about involvement of her students, she said, “I was a bit worried going into this, but most of my students attend my Live Meet session. Since we’ve been using the Quaver program, an online music curriculum, for the past four years, my second through fifth graders are used to being on the computer and completing some of their work online. That has really helped.”
With respect to feeling connected, Christina has this to say, “My colleagues have been fantastic. The Elementary Music Department meets weekly, we share celebrations, ideas, and needs. The Elementary Music Department Chair has implemented something we are calling ‘Sharing Tuesday’ where our department of music educators shares different ideas and celebrations. This is a great way for us to collaborate with our colleagues. I feel so supported.”
WEAC extends a special thank you to Christina and all of her colleagues across Wisconsin for engaging and supporting our students during this unique time. We value and appreciate you.