At Davidson Family Dentistry our employees with school-aged children cannot work from home AND help patients with their dental care needs. We needed a creative solution to support these families as schools rolled out various models of learning inside and outside the school building this fall.
Rather than risk the loss of valuable employees who would be forced to stay home for online learning classes, we hired two facilitators. Ms. Katy Fukuda has a background in education; she taught English in Tokyo, Japan and middle school in Pennsylvania and moved all of her curriculum online over Spring Break in March 2020 before moving back to her hometown of Ankeny. With a newborn at home, Ms. Fukuda was looking for a creative way to use her skills and our learning collective was a perfect fit. Ms. Kelly Barchinger has a background as a nanny, camp counselor and in hotel management/event planning and she coordinates the important play – both inside and outside – aspect of a child’s day as school is not continuous learning from 7am-5pm (the hours the dental clinic is open). We have been operating our learning cooperative since the start of the 2020-2021 school year at no charge to our employees.
The learning collective is open to any of our employees with flexible hours tailored to fit school schedules across 4 metro districts, work schedules, and older students “trying it out at home”. Our busiest day is Tuesdays with 8 students in attendance. Right now, we have students in 1st-6th grades using the collective with four 3rd graders as our biggest group. If metro school districts switch from in-person schedules to all online or hybrid, we have the capacity to meet the needs of all of our employees.
Both parents and children seem to like this arrangement. The parents have fewer worries knowing that their children are safe, supervised and keeping up with schoolwork while the parents can continue working. The children are always excited to come see their new friends.
We are excited that our employees and students have embraced this new program.
Challenging times call for creative solutions!
Posted September 15th, 2020