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Creativity keeps principal present

  • Enfield Village School second-graders, from left, Emma Tarner, Cayden Clausen and Ethan Huff speak with Principal Harrison Little in the hallway while Harrison was in quarantine due to close contact with a recent COVID-19 positive case at the school. Courtesy

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/10/2020 6:02:12 PM
Modified: 12/10/2020 6:02:00 PM

Interacting with students is the best part of Principal Harrison Little’s job.

“The part of the time in the office really isn’t that much fun,” the third-year administrator at Enfield Village School said on Wednesday. “I would say my favorite part of my job is pushing kids on swings.”

Last week, Little entered a 10-day quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Administrators at SAU 62 quickly got to work on a plan to help Little keep connected with students. They came up with a device that holds a Chromebook on a wheeled platform that’s close to eye level with the 180 preK to fourth graders who attend the school. Little contributed a shirt, suit jacket and ties which are sometimes used to dress the platform, though some days Mascoma officials use an Enfield Village School hooded sweatshirt.

“Instead of being just a face in a box of screens on Google Meet or a Zoom screen, you have his face and his clothing, so it does resemble a person,” SAU 62 Superintendent Amanda Isabelle said. “Mr. Little needed to see his kids and the kids needed to see Mr. Little.”

Children and staff members roll the platform through the hallways so Little is present during arrival and dismissal. During Spirit Week, which coincided with his quarantine, the platform was dressed in a Red Sox jersey, among other costumes. A highlight was his reading the interactive children’s book Crunch the Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap to a class of students.

“I’m very much at the mercy of the couple of kids or staff members who are tearing around the halls with me,” Little said, adding that at first the experience was a little nerve-wracking and he had to figure out how to position his torso so his face aligns with the platform. “Being able to do this in a fun way, a way that’s more at their level, is not something I thought I’d have during this 10-day quarantine period.”

Little is scheduled to return to the school on Thursday.

Technology Director Craig Suttie, district technology technician Koby VanBeest and technology education teacher David Shinnlinger worked together to design and build the platform. Suttie said it took a couple of hours to pull together.

“It keeps that line of communication and human connectivity for the kids, and that continuity as well,” Suttie said. “He basically didn’t miss a beat in any of those categories and that’s key for kids.”

Since the experiment went well, Isabelle and Suttie said that it could be used for teachers or staff members who may have to quarantine in the future.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

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