The Student News Site of Freedom High School



Freedom Support Staff Adapts to Working in a COVID-19 World


Just as teachers and students have had to adjust to carrying on in a COVID-19 world, so have members of the support staff at Freedom High School. From the counseling department to the front office staff, changes are evident in the day-to-day tasks of these members of the Freedom staff as well.

Charmaine Jackson, Freedom’s new testing coordinator, has found the transition from a science teacher to a testing coordinator challenging but manageable. One of the biggest events she’s been tasked with planning is the SAT school day administrations as well as the PSAT administrations. Jackson has overseen the entire process from communicating with students to training proctors.

“All of the precautions and information that has to go out [digitally] because usually you can just go to a classroom or put things in teachers mailboxes and they’ll distribute it to the students,” Jackson said.

One change students may have noticed while taking these tests is the use of the gym, the auxiliary gym and the cafeteria as opposed to the classrooms they were used to taking the tests in in previous years.

“It’s been really hard to get proctors because we have a lot of teachers that can’t come in so it was a lot easier to say, ‘alright, we’re going to test in these three big rooms,'” Jackson said. 

Another recent addition to the school is Lisa Wood, the college and career specialist. One of the benefits COVID-19 is an increase in college representative visits.

“We’ve had over 100 rep visits this year, which is great, because it’s virtual so we’ve been able to get different colleges to our high school that have never come before,” Wood said. 

In her opinion, the biggest challenge of a distance learning world is the lack of human interaction.

“There’s such an energy in the College and Career Center usually,” Wood said. “I feel like a lot of the counselors miss that energy.”

This sentiment has been shared with Ken Christopher, the director of school counseling.

“It’s challenging from a mental health standpoint not to have the interactions face to face,” Christopher said. 

For many staff members, some of the biggest challenges have been managing heaps of emails and in general communicating with other staff members, parents and students.

“My inbox is like through the roof the number of emails that I’m getting, and trying to respond to all of them is definitely a very timely task to take on,” Christopher said. 

Another often overlooked aspect of the school’s functioning that has had to adapt is the flow of money into and from the school. Hope Casserly, Freedom’s bookkeeper, describes the shift in spending patterns this school year.

“I’m doing a lot less purchasing but the things I’m purchasing are a lot different,” Casserly said. “I now purchase a lot more sanitizing types of things. We have losses of income so we’re really trying to be careful about how much we’re spending and what we’re purchasing.”

But there have been many positives as well. Jackson for example, has cited the use of virtual meetings being very helpful to her in learning the job.

“If I had a question for someone at another school, I would never have Google Meeted them because that’s just not a thing we used to do and it’s been really good for someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of the job,” Jackson said. 

Christopher has also found positives in this new environment.

“I appreciate coming to school. I appreciate nature. I appreciate my family. I appreciate the time that we have with each other and not running around nonstop from one activity to another. I appreciate cooking dinner with my daughter. I appreciate everything I’m learning when it comes to technology and making movies and doing different things that if I had not been forced to do, I probably would not have done so,” Christopher said. 

Wood agrees that learning how to use different technologies has been a great benefit.

“I feel a lot better able to do technology type stuff that I never thought I would [like] learning how to play around in Photoshop and how to do Google slide presentations,” Wood said.

This school year has been challenging for everyone at Freedom to adjust to, but as Casserly put it, “It’s a great lesson in life that you have to be flexible, you have to power through.”

More to Discover