From Eaglecrest to Elevation and Back

Former Eaglecrest teachers are returning to the building for the first time since March 2020 after a year at Cherry Creek Elevation.

When COVID-19 became a global pandemic back in March of 2020, many parents feared their children would get sick with the new disease in school. As a result, students across the country took to safer forms of education, namely online school.

At Eaglecrest High School, Cherry Creek Elevation became the online school of choice for most students. Run by the Cherry Creek School District, it offered the same educational courses as a traditional school, only entirely online.

Since you can’t have students without teachers, over a dozen Eaglecrest staff members joined their students in the transition to Elevation as a result of the pandemic.

Some teachers went online to protect their families, like chemistry teacher Mrs. Elliott. “My son has special needs, and so as things started worsening, I was getting nervous about his health and what that would look like for our family.” For her, the move was never supposed to be permanent. “I reached out to the school to see if it was a possibility to transfer for just the year.”

The transition wasn’t easy for all teachers. “It started kind of rocky,” Mrs. Byers, the Latin teacher, stated, “But then we got into a rhythm and then it was really cool. I was learning a lot.” Online learning presented brand new challenges to teachers, many of whom had no experience with digital learning before the pandemic, and now relied solely on online tools to help their students learn.

“I think it’s really hard to learn a language sitting in front of a computer without practicing and hearing it,” Spanish teacher Mrs. Dillaman explained. As the school year came to an end and we started to roll into the late stages of the pandemic, teachers came back to EHS and didn’t look back.

“[Eaglecrest has] always been a home for me,” Mrs. Elliott said. “It was just a really tough year, and we all needed to do what was best for our situations at the time, but I was thrilled to be back in person and to be back to the community that I loved and supported me and that I can support them back.” The return to school came with its own challenges. The return was kind of a “culture shock” to teachers now used to teaching in a private home. “You aren’t used to being around so many people at once. It’s a bit overwhelming.” Mrs. Dillaman said.

Overall, the experience has improved both our school and the teachers who serve it. The pandemic has opening opportunities to more positively address students’ emotional and social needs. It also gave teachers a chance to learn new online tools.

But through it all, returning teachers can agree on one thing.

“I’m just so happy to be back here,” said Mrs. Dillaman.