School Beyond Walls
By May-Lee Melki
An Update on The Beirut Baptist School
Not always do we get to tangibly experience the impact of the investments made in a program so quickly. Adopting a wide and robust digital infrastructure through Microsoft classrooms was the best thing that the Beirut Baptist School (BBS) did over the last 3 years. Not knowing what lay ahead, BBS invested heavily and became one of the pioneer schools in distance learning in Lebanon. We are reaping the benefits of that investment today after the first full month of complete lockdown by government orders. The right team of trained educators at BBS has been able to train their peers to lead digital interactive classrooms and successfully move all teachings online.
Teachers are being met with surprisingly high levels of interaction among students and in some cases are even receiving feedback on and recommendations of digital games and online learning methods from the students themselves, showing that they feel included in the learning process. As first responders, doctors, nurses, and law enforcement officers carry out life-saving efforts, educators in Lebanon and all around the world are fighting for the continued advancement and growth of their students. Prior to the pandemic, BBS classrooms were already conducting video chats with classrooms in Canada and India to instill a sense of global citizenship and widen their world views.
As an inclusive educational school, the BBS special education program known as “SMART” has also been able to cope with these exceptional circumstances very well! Online therapy sessions, parental coaching, recorded projects/lessons, and homework assistance have found their rhythm in the life of BBS families. Educators and therapists are pursuing a variety of methods to increase students’ involvement, engagement, and progress. And on April 2nd the school lit up blue in solidarity with the global autism family on World Autism Awareness Day. That day was an important reminder that even in the toughest of times we can take action to encourage, support and raise awareness of the uniqueness that everyone with autism adds to the beauty of our community.
We pray that the Coronavirus will end soon, and that our world will no longer be secluded! In the meantime, BBS is committed to leveraging the resources that it has been blessed with for such a time as this!
A reflection from the Chaplain of the Beirut Baptist School
Mr. Toni El Haddad
In aviation, when a pilot becomes disoriented and loses spatial awareness, he can panic and make decisions that send the aircraft into an out-of-control free fall, a fatal moment called the graveyard spiral. Has the panic over the Coronavirus plunged you into a graveyard spiral?
It really depends on how you look at it. Is it serious? Yes. Is it dangerous? Yes. Is it a calling to be alert and pay attention? Yes. But we need to remember that while pain is inevitable, misery is a choice. In times of atrocity, our only hope is to cling to the Lord, who guides us through these difficult times and gives us wisdom on how we should behave in order to stay safe and protect those around us. Otherwise, misery is waiting at the door.
Do not be discouraged. Trust the Lord whom you heard about over the years. Trust him and remember that He is a Loving and Compassionate Lord. Victory was His portion and it is unto your account. Just stretch out your hand in faith and grasp it. What does not break you will make you stronger!