‘Goooooood Morning Lakota East’: Morning announcements get big changes during coronavirus

Lakota East High School Principal Suzanna Davis starts each school morning broadcasting from in front of her home as she recites the American pledge of allegiance to a flag her front door. Her social media messages, which also include school announcements and encouragement for students learning remotely and watching online, are part of a area trend of school officials broadcasting to keep student morale high during the coronavirus shutdown.(Provide Photo/Journal-News)

Combined ShapeCaption
Lakota East High School Principal Suzanna Davis starts each school morning broadcasting from in front of her home as she recites the American pledge of allegiance to a flag her front door. Her social media messages, which also include school announcements and encouragement for students learning remotely and watching online, are part of a area trend of school officials broadcasting to keep student morale high during the coronavirus shutdown.(Provide Photo/Journal-News)

The decades-old tradition of principals giving morning school announcements and pep talks has gone digital.

During the coronavirus shutdowns of all Ohio schools, some area school leaders have gotten creative through social media broadcasts designed to inform and lift the spirits of students isolated at home.

Suzanna Davis, principal of Lakota East High School, may have surprised her neighbors in recent weeks as she steps outside her home each school morning to recite the pledge of allegiance to an American flag hanging near her door.

Explore MORE: Lakota Schools pushes high school graduations into summer and back to 2 high school campuses

Davis — like some other area school principals — films this live for social media broadcasts that include her giving school news and plenty of encouragement to thousands of Lakota East students and their families.

It maintains a vital personal communication connection — albeit digitally — to teens during a stressful and historic chapter in Ohio school history.

“On the first day of remote learning, I thought it was important to do the announcements to welcome students back. Later that night, my husband, who is also an educator, mentioned how cool it would be if I did the announcements every morning to provide some normalcy for everyone,” Davis said.

“From then on I have done ‘Goooooood Morning Lakota East’ every morning from my front porch. I also felt it was important to start our remote learning days in the same way we start our traditional school days, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance was an important part and has continued during our live porch announcements,” she said.

“The feedback has been overwhelming and very positive. I have had students, parents, community members and alumni reach out to me, letting me know how much they appreciate this. Many say they watch the announcements every day to kick-off their remote learning,” said Davis.

The leader of Lakota’s other high school — Lakota West — said social media broadcasts maintain an emotional bond with students.

“I really want to do the announcements to stay connected to the kids and community,” said Elgin Card, principal of Lakota West.

That emotional connection works both ways, said Card, who appreciates the feedback.

“The idea of doing this job without seeing my kids, is something I never thought would happen. I understand it is temporary, but I miss my kids terribly,” he said.

Some area superintendents are doing their own social media outreach campaigns with Lakota’s Matt Miller and Middletown Schools’ Marlon Styles Jr. among some of the most active in the region.

Explore MORE: Lakota school leader wins national acclaim for digital outreach

Both were recognized by national communication organizations prior to the coronavirus outbreak for their use of social media outreach and advancing digital learning.

Many of Fairfield Schools’ 10,000 students are staying connected with their school principals digitally.

Explore MORE: Fairfield HS’ famed music show choir forced to do remote digital auditions

Kim Hauer, principal at Fairfield Compass Elementary, said “communicating, connecting and building relationships with our families is at the heart of what we do and social media, more now than ever before, helps us do that.”

“Whether it be just a heartfelt, ‘We miss you!’ message, a reminder of how to access work, a reminder of where to pick up food if you need it, how to access mental health resources, or an avenue to share pictures/videos of our students and staff just to bring a smile to our kids faces, it helps us stay connected and remember we are a Fairfield family, even when we are physically separated,” said Hauer.

About the Author