The Odessa Record -

By Jeremy Burnham
The Times 

Davenport school aims to keep pupils feeling involved


Last updated 5/8/2020 at 8:25pm

DAVENPORT — School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been challenging to students, teachers and parents alike.

Staff members at Davenport High School are trying to navigate the situation to be as smooth for students as possible. While getting themselves and their students accustomed to distance learning is important, staff is also focused on trying to salvage the senior experience for their graduating class.

While most students will resume normal schooling whenever schools reopen, seniors will not.

“This whole thing is a bummer,” Principal Chad Prewitt said. “For a group of kids to lose out on a quarter of their senior year has really been hard … A lot of kids were born and raised in Davenport and so we really want to try and honor them as best we can.”

Prewitt says there are a few ways the school is trying to “celebrate our seniors.”

“We have staff out delivering senior-year 2020-yard signs,” Prewitt said.

The signs can be seen in front yards when driving through Davenport. While they don’t have students’ names or photos on them, Prewitt says signs that do are on their way.”

“We ordered another set that has their senior photos on them,” Prewitt said. “We are going to travel those signs around and place them at

different parts of the community so all 50-plus seniors can be seen and celebrated.”

The school also has the seniors’ names painted on its front doors.

While staple senior events like prom must be canceled, Prewitt says the school is doing everything it can to salvage at least part of graduation.

“We also have a parent committee setup to look at ideas for graduation,” Prewitt said.

“They met last week and are going to meet again next week. They are planning some ideas and we are looking at how we can fit in a graduation ceremony while still being cognizant of social distancing guidelines.”

While some districts are planning virtual ceremonies, Prewitt says Davenport High School aims to have some form of a live ceremony.

“We are ruling out the ceremony in the gymnasium at this point,” Prewitt said. “But we are looking at, ‘Can we do it on the football field? Can we do it at the fairgrounds? Could we do some sort of parade for the kids?’

“There’s a lot of things that are being talked about and the creativity has been amazing. This will be one to remember if we can pull this off within the guidelines.”

While parents are helping to plan for graduation, the faculty is trying to keep students focused on their schoolwork, seniors included.

“Our biggest push is to get our seniors finished up in good standing so they can graduate and close this chapter of their lives,” Prewitt said.

“We want them to stay engaged. We are trying very hard to connect with them and we’re asking them to do the best they can.”

While students can’t earn a failing grade this quarter, they can earn an incomplete. An incomplete grade could potentially prevent a senior from graduating. Prewitt said staff is working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We are going to work with them and do everything in our power to make sure that not one of our kids earn an incomplete this quarter,” Prewitt said. “One thing we want tell them is, ‘If you are struggling in any way, please, reach out to us.’”

Prewitt said the pandemic has also taken the attention off the successful year the school has had.

The Times reported last week that Davenport High School earned several recognitions this year, including from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for excellence in achievement in areas such as graduation rate and keeping ninth graders on track.

Prewitt is especially proud of these two areas. He says he doesn’t want to see the school’s and its staff’s accomplishments get overlooked due to the pandemic.

“We graduate our seniors and we keep our ninth graders on track,” Prewitt said. “We work really hard on this. We ranked No. 29 in the state and No. 2 in Eastern Washington.”


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