Electronic Excitement

Electronic Excitement

Online School Days elicits great zeal from Peel


Serendipitously, early this year, staff at the Peel Compton Foundation had been brainstorming ways to take their yearly School Days programming online in order to reach more children statewide. Certainly, when the pandemic hit and forced their hand in that decision, there was a steep learning curve. But the resulting Virtual School Days 2020 curriculum has everyone on the team proud of the quick work and excited to offer history and cultural lessons to students statewide.

“We have three lesson plans: history, geography and government,” explains Alyssa De La Rosa, event manager at the foundation. “And within those three lesson plans, there are 10 different videos. Then within that, we have interactive activities to help supplement the learning process. All in all, it’s about an hour’s worth of video content, but probably a week-long worth of content for a teacher to utilize in the classroom.”

For the past 16 years, Peel Mansion in Rogers has welcomed fourth-grade students from almost exclusively the Northwest Arkansas region to the museum for School Days. Partnerships with other local organizations would produce a little more than a dozen stations that students would spend a half-day rotating through before taking lunch on the lawn and heading back to school.

Moving the program to digital not only has allowed students from outside Northwest Arkansas to participate, it has also expanded partnership opportunities for the lessons and activities. Working with a local videographer team, video lessons were filmed with returning collaborators from School Days past and new additions: Hillfolk, Wild Goose Pottery, the Northwest Arkansas Quilting Guild, Sioux Creek Forge, Museum of Native American History, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art all participated in developing content to engage students in the classroom.

“We partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education; their social studies specialist took a look at our content and gave us some really good feedback,” De La Rosa notes. “That way, we truly could say to the teachers and educators in Arkansas we are completely aligned with the social studies curriculum and the state standards for fourth-grade students. So we were able to take the posture of, ‘We truly feel like this is a beneficial resource to you as an educator.’”

“Personally, the number that I’m most excited about are the schools outside of Northwest Arkansas that are having that access,” Alyssa De La Rosa, event manager at the Peel Compton Foundation, says of this year’s partnerships for Virtual School Days 2020. “A fourth grader [outside Northwest Arkansas] might never get to come visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art or be able to see the Peel Mansion Museum in all of its rich history. So that’s what’s really exciting to us.”
(Courtesy Photo)

The piece of the puzzle that most thrills De La Rosa is the spread of these resources throughout the state. Already, the foundation has far surpassed the number of students registered for the curriculum versus the 1,000 who attended School Days in person last year. As of publication, 36 schools and 13 nonschool or home school groups comprise some 2,416 students who will participate in Virtual School Days 2020. The content will be available at least through the autumn.


Virtual School Days 2020

WHEN — Through the fall

WHERE — Online at peelcompton.org

COST — Free

INFO — 479-254-2870, peelcompton.org

FYI — The Peel Compton Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens are open to the public at limited capacity Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Categories: Family Friendly