When my children’s school shuttered in March, the President and Vice President of our Parent Volunteer Association were adamant about maintaining a sense of community among students and families while social distancing. They came up with a virtual Spirit Week that they hosted on the PVA Facebook page, encouraging families to post pictures of their children participating the different activities comprising Spirit Week. The idea was fantastic, and it got me thinking about other ways to nurture school spirit virtually.
Here are ten ideas to consider for your school:
1. Participate in the Boost Educators Challenge
Encourage each student’s family to challenge the rest of the school families to give their teacher(s) a shout out or thank you over the school’s social channels. We started this challenge at Booster. Check out BoostEducatorsChallenge.com for details.
2. School Spirit Week on Facebook and Instagram
Host a daily fun activity for students or families to do from home and post their work on the school’s Facebook or Instagram page. An easy way to incentivize kids to play along is by selecting one participant at random to receive a special prize.
3. “Five Days of Gratitude” Project
It feels good to do things for others, so why not launch a card or letter writing project where students write letters or make cards to send to frontline and essential workers like doctors and nurses. You can select the group that’s done the most for your community during the pandemic.
4. Commemorative Online Pop-up Shop
You might consider an online pop-up shop for Kindergarten or 5th grader to purchase items to remember this milestone year. If you want to make it a fundraiser, funds raised might be used for school needs like e-learning initiatives, food for students in need or perhaps a local food bank or other charity. Check out Booster Spirit Wear for some milestone celebration ideas.
5. Host a Virtual Graduation Ceremony
This could be an invitation-only event hosted on Zoom or through another provider so school families can watch graduation live. You might also consider creating yard signs for newly-graduated students, if it feels right for your school community. Here are a few fun yard sign design ideas!
6. Teacher & Student Talent Showcase
You probably have some super talented teachers and students at your school. Why not host a talent show night using Zoom or another provider that will allow many people to watch and cheer participants on? If you want to make it interesting, allow the audience members to vote for their favorite acts!
7. “Art Smiles” Project
Consider a school-wide art project. Assign each class a special theme to celebrate in art. Consider donating the student artwork to a local nursing home or senior living facility near the school. This will “wow” the residents and allow your students to have their artwork on display. Check out this article about seniors receiving similar special gifts.
8. A Give Back Spirit Event
If your schools wants to join together on an initiative that drives school spirit and raises funds that can be used for essential school community needs (i.e. Chromebooks, internet access, food for families, e-learning platforms, etc.) or even a local charity, the new, fully virtual (but still super fun!) Boosterthon At Home program might be an option for your school.
9. Virtual Career Day
This could be done by class or by school, or both. What a great opportunity to have students learn about different job functions! This is another opportunity to showcase folks who’re making a difference in the community. You likely have many parents at your school you can honor.
10. Virtual Family Trivia Competition
An online trivia competition between grade-level families or play teachers vs. students. There are many services out there (take a look at Crowdpurr) if you want to get a membership and even customize the questions.
Any member of a school community can help boost school spirit and keep your school culture thriving. If you’re a PTA/PTO leader, perhaps you can get one or two of these ideas going to end the school year on a high note. If you’re a parent, perhaps you can share the ideas in this blog with your school administrators and/or PTA/PTO leaders so they can consider a spirit activity or two.
What I do know is that the social component of school is harder to “do” remotely but every bit as important (and memorable) to students as distance learning. So why not rally school communities around something uplifting and fun to end the year on a high note?
Author: Kim Miller
Kim is a full-time working mom with two children, ages 4 and 7. Right now she spends her days attempting to fill the big shoes of her children’s teachers while supporting her colleagues and clients (she’s Booster’s VP of Marketing), and taking parenting webinars to learn new strategies to keep the peace with everyone under one roof all day long! Kim’s also an active member of her school community (in-person and virtually), serving as a room mom, a member of the Parent Volunteer Association, and the chairperson of the school’s fun run.