Social worker Skye Mosley is in her first year working at Park Hill Elementary. It’s been going well, but at first she didn’t feel as connected to the students as she would in a normal, pandemic-free year. And something was missing: the students’ smiles.

Luckily, the Husky Helper program, spearheaded by Mosley, is helping build connections between families and the school – and giving students a chance to show off those smiles.

The program assigns Park Hill students of all grade levels a weekly mission. The missions vary in complexity and structure, but they all feature positivity as a recurring characteristic.

“The first one [asked students] to just take a photo with you, your family, and your husky,” Mosley said. The paper huskies are given out with each mission.

The students email Mosley their submissions, and Mosley tracks the students who participate each week. Then the submissions are posted on Park Hill’s Facebook page.

“It gets families used to checking our social media and used to doing assignments electronically, which will help us if we do have to move to remote [at-home learning],” Mosley said. “And if we do move remote, then it provides that bridge, that consistency across the board no matter what.”

At least once a month, the missions focus on community engagement. Last week’s mission was to create a card for residents at Derby Health and Rehab.

“We ended up with almost 200 cards that we’re going to send out to [residents],” Mosley said. “That was pretty impressive.”

Students at Park Hill from early childhood through fifth grade participate in the Husky Helper missions. The missions are also sent out through Skylert, Derby’s electronic mass notification system.

“That way all of our students can participate,” Mosley said.

Mosley wants to help kids understand that “even though things are different right now and there’s some uncertainty, we’re all in the same boat and there’s still a need for some positivity.”

She’s also looking for community partners. Anyone who’d like to assist

with the program can reach Mosley at smosley@usd260.com.

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