Rucker Elementary School Principal Eileen Puente knew that
her staff would need to rethink how they would engage with students following
Spring Break and the closure of HISD campuses due to COVID-19.
So, on Thursday, Puente and over 20 of her teachers and staff convened at Rucker with their vehicles, formed a parade, and drove through nearby streets and neighborhoods to check in with their students from a safe distance.
Like tens of thousands of other elementary school children across HISD, the 400-plus students, who call the southeast neighborhood school home, will not be returning to campus for several weeks due to intensifying precautions around the spread of COVID-19.
While many have entered the new year with resolutions to get healthier, a group of students at Rucker Elementary School are taking time each day to put their hands to their hearts and close their eyes.
“Hands up, deep breath, stretch, and now let’s swing our bodies to the left and now the right,” HISD Social Worker Manager Nicole Batiste said.
For the next few minutes, students are led through a series of deep breathing and movement exercises designed to help participants be more mindful of their emotions and responses to have better self-control and ultimately better self-esteem.
The dreary skies of the last week cleared out just in time this Saturday for Rucker Elementary School’s principal to lace up her walking shoes and carry out her mission of making sure all her students know they are loved.
Principal Eileen Puente and group of volunteers and staff from Rucker Elementary School came together for a door-to-door effort to help check in on students who have recently struggled with attendance.
“We want them to know that we are here for them and we want them in school,” she said.