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With Change Comes Opportunity

Whenever we get a chance to peek inside a classroom we take it.  Amazing things happen every day in Hanover schools and the ‘peeks’ we’ve had this year have convinced us that there is more to be proud of than ever before. 

It’s almost hard to remember August and the start of the school year.  For parents, students, teachers and staff, trepidation threatened to overwhelm us, but careful planning, consistent precautions and continuing adaptability have presented unparrelled opportunities to shine. 

“I was very nervous to start the school year, but that nervousness was gone within the first week.  The protocols that Hanover has in place, have worked,” said Tara Kanger, 7th grade math teacher, team leader and Department Chair at Hanover Central Middle School.  “There have been several challenges for me this year and the biggest challenge was trying to keep my teaching style the same,” she said.

In the past, Mrs. Kanger’s classes would frequently work in small groups.  “Students need to interact with one another in a classroom.  Students learn different strategies by collaborating with other students.  My way of doing a problem may not be understood by a student.  When students work together, they may come up with another way to solve a problem,” she explained.  During a “normal” school year, her students would have been placed in groups of three, with access to small whiteboards to work out problems.  They would have been free to move around her room and sit or stand wherever they were most comfortable. 

“Due to Covid-19 restrictions and protocols, I had not done a lot of partner work this school year,” said Mrs. Kanger.  Through the generosity and kindness of a group of parents, Mrs. Kanger’s classroom now has plastic dividers that allow students to work together, safely.  We have all become quite accustomed to reading the eyes of students, and the eyes of Mrs. Kanger’s students certainly told a story. “When they first walked in my room, their eyes got really big,” she said with a laugh.   “They have not said much about the dividers.  Initially It was something different, but with this school year, changes are made frequently, and students have learned to roll with the changes.  If there is one take away from this year, the only consistent thing is change,” she added. 

two school boys with divider between them

Vincent Seiter and Luke Kopec work together safely to determine the rate and rate of change from a graph in different situations.

three girls with dividers between their desks

Shown (l to r) are: Layla Popovich , Violet Moody and Jaylen Grigutis who all have the opportunity to interact safely with one another to find the answer to math problems.  Collaboration is essential to the success of these young women and their classmates.  

The dividers have given Mrs. Kanger’s class the opportunity to partner with each other and help provide the critical interaction so necessary to learning.  “The students have been awesome,” she said.  “Having a positive outlook during these times has definitely helped me, as their teacher.”  It is so rewarding to see the resilience of my students and co-workers.  We have faced many challenges, but we have faced them together.  Our building is open for in-person learning and I am very proud to be part of the Hanover family.”   

two girls with dividers between them

Alana Krout and Kayla Carver might have different ways of understanding how to calculate the rate of change of cell phone usage from a graph, but together they may discover an understanding that leads to a correct answer.  

two boys working on a math problem with a divider in between

Jaden Oparka might have an answer or idea to share with his classmate, Owen Furman and others.  Thanks to the generosity and caring of our parents, he will be able to do so safely.  

We, as a school corporation, are very proud of Mrs. Kanger, her 7th grade students, the parents who made the dividers possible and the ability to peek inside a classroom and know that everything is okay.