As the principal of Childersburg High School, Quentin Lee was used to going above and beyond for his students, but that took on a new meaning when COVID-19 began to affect the state of Alabama in mid-March.
Lee, M.S.E in instructional leadership ’09 and Ed.D ’17, had to transform traditional schoolwork into e-learning in just three weeks. While technology is already a regular tool in the school’s curriculum as all 389 students have a school-issued Chromebook, not every student had internet access at home. For those students, Lee hand-delivered paper packets to each student’s home so they could continue to keep up with their classmates.
Lee knew that he and his faculty and staff needed to ensure students’ needs were being met beyond the classroom as the students rely on the school for more than just academic instruction.
“Going above and beyond is just our expectation,” said Lee. “Our students need to be proud of where they go to school, and their parents need to feel safe with their kids coming here.”
Lee implemented several tools to reach students. He began hosting a weekly video series called “Kicking It With Dr. Lee,” which became a staple for communication. He would talk with the kids and parents, play games, give away prizes, host special guests, provide updates on COVID-19 in Alabama and make sure everyone was staying safe.
Many students at Childersburg High School also continued working during the pandemic as essential workers, so Lee created a video thanking them for their service.
Lee also found creative ways to show the students how to have fun and laugh during the pandemic. He created a satirical video for his students to express his feelings about COVID-19.
There was also a virtual baccalaureate service and a separate virtual senior awards ceremony, individual Zoom conferences with every senior, “faculty meetings” with parents since they were now the teachers as they homeschooled their kids, and updates posted to Lee’s blog.
When speaking with his students, Lee has encouraged them not to waste this time. He believes that God has given this time to refocus on priorities and he encourages his students to come out on the other side as better people.
Although not much can prepare you for a global pandemic, Lee believes his Samford education helped develop the leadership skills he would need to lead his school through such a trying time.“The systematic planning of who needs to cover what to make sure we’re meeting the needs of our community and the intentionality of making sure everyone felt important, I learned that at Samford,” said Lee. “Samford definitely helped prepare me for this.”