Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With health restrictions still in place, Grasslands Public Schools have opted for a creative approach to traditional holiday celebrations.
Most of the performances have been recorded and sent to parents, or live streamed, said Scott Brandt, superintendent of Grasslands.
“We can’t manage to have a whole bunch of people into our gymnasiums, which would be more of a traditional approach to our holiday celebrations,” said Brandt. “So we’re kind of following what we did last year, other than the fact that our, our junior high and high school band are using our theater at Griffin Park School to put on a concert, but then we have to, we’re required to follow the regulations in terms of attendance, masking, all those kinds of things. So. So other than that, it’s pretty kind of what we did last year.”
Many of the schools have, in the past, held winter carnivals or festivals, but most schools have shifted towards plays or reader’s theatre performances to better accommodate the new medium.
“We’ve all kind of had to adapt a little bit. We’ve always had some schools with wonderful winter carnivals, and that kind of stuff, but we just can’t have, you know, that many parents and kids in any of our facilities. So this is kind of a compromise,” said Brandt. “And we got great responses last year from what we’re able to kind of pull together for parents. It was probably a little bit more last minute last year, just because we never really had made that shift before. But this year, it’s a little bit easier for us only because we’ve gone through that process once before, we kind of know the tips, or the secrets to make it a little more efficient.”
“It’s a great way to showcase her the talents of our kids and our staff,” said Brandt. “Our staff has put in such amazing efforts to make it a great experience. And it’s something that kids can enjoy. This time of year is a very busy time for everyone. People are pretty tired by the time Christmas holidays roll around. For them to continue to go that extra mile for kids to knees just is extraordinary.”
Like every year, the nature of the celebration will depend on the community surrounding the school and the culture of that community, said Brandt. Grasslands continues to strive to have their winter celebrations remain inclusive to all students, and in many schools, not tied to any specific faith.
“Each of the schools will kind of adapt how they approach the scene according to their context and their community. So in Brooks, what you would see is more songs that are not necessarily connected, strictly to a religious celebration with anyone. That has been a shift that has happened over time here and grasslands. The other part is, we do have some of our schools who, you know, their communities are less diverse in terms of religious diversity. And so if you go to some of our smaller communities, you might see more songs that are, you know, that they have, you know, they might be playing some of the more traditional Christmas songs where it does talk about baby Jesus, or you know, the manger and those kinds of things,” said Brandt. “It’s important for whichever community that when we’re looking the holiday season, that it has a sense of inclusivity to it.”