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OT Spotlight – Guilford County Schools OT Department!

The Occupational Therapy Department at Guilford County Schools is pivoting, leaping, & keeping our feet on the two moving halves of the 2020-2021 educational bridge ~ we haven’t fallen in the water yet! Like most of you, we pivoted to fully-remote services back in March then leaped into the 2020-21 school year in this same way. Guilford County initiated staggered in-person re-entry in early November, as well as continuing the option for students to remain remote during this school year. OTs are some of the specialized instructional support personnel who continue to navigate all of the above ~ the challenge of moving parts that sometimes feel as if they are transforming under our feet! Good thing our very profession is built on adaptation and innovation, right? The GCS OT team, which is 30 OTs strong, has risen to the challenge!

Guilford County Schools OT Canvas Screenshot

Part of our success navigating this challenging school year is thanks to a small group of GCS OTs who spent the summer of 2020 framing then developing on-line resources in both the Canvas platform as well as the Microsoft Teams platform. Meg Harris (our Lead OT), Haley Ross, Kristen Woodliff, Jennifer Albright, and Bonnie Engellau structured both resources within an Occupational Performance framework, creating a teacher-/parent-friendly version in Canvas (that, we hope, will transition to an MTSS resource course next year) and an OT-specific version in Microsoft Teams (which is our platform for delivering virtual related service live sessions). This OT team also created procedural/task documents to support the OTs in navigating the many additional and unfamiliar beginning-of-year job duties that these virtual platforms required.

We GCS OTs continue to support each other in expanding on these initial resources – as well as our skills at delivering virtual occupational therapy services! While a few of us have largely returned to in-person services, many students are still participating in their education remotely, and we continue to nimbly address our students however they are accessing their education! We plan to devote our January OT department meeting to showcasing some of the stellar strategies, technology ideas, and session “flow” structure that many of our OTs now have in their professional tool box! While we have often felt stretched like Elasti-Girl, we have been given an opportunity to grow our skills (and our processes) in ways we could only imagine – and we will have the opportunity to maintain those that can continue to better enable us to fulfill our essential role within the schools post-pandemic, too!

A shout-out to the GCS OTs making this happen: Jennifer, Crystal, Janina, April, Kathy, Nancy, Manashi, Kate, Jessica C, Bonnie, Paige, Allison, Meg, Tiffany, Mary Beth, Emma, Susan, Shannon, Nicole, Dana, Haley, Jouette, Kirstyn, Taylor, Kristin, Melissa, Cara, Tisha, Jessica W, and Kristen!

p.s. Here’s a little tour of our Canvas resource (made for parents as a tutorial): How to Navigate OT Canvas.

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