Last Goodbye: Kenmont Montessori School bids farewell to students

Parents and students at the Kenmont Montessori School packed into vehicles decorated with balloons, colorful streamers, window paint, and even pictures of students printed and taped onto windows on Friday morning.

Students who hadn’t seen their teachers in person for over nine weeks waved from windows and sunroofs and danced to blasting music played by school staff. Families parked one by one to say hello.

The event was planned in response to COVID-19; nine weeks of remote classes meant that many of the school’s older students graduating into junior high school were seeing their teachers for the last time during Friday’s parade and an additional celebration held last weekend.

Teachers greeted their students with a whirlwind of energy and appreciation as parents rolled slowly past the school’s entrance, grabbing treats and report cards from staff. They held green and white pom poms and posters with messages of encouragement and support reading, “Have a GR8 Summer!”, “We are Kenmont”, “We miss you!”, and “Love you Dragons!”.

Kenmont’s Director Sonia Saenz held a megaphone and cheered along with her colleagues. “We wanted the kids to have a time to see their teachers — at least one more time before summer officially starts,” she said.

Saenz spoke highly of her dedicated staff and the work they put in to make the switch to remote learning as smooth as possible. “They were able to transition immediately. Our teachers are incredible. They did a lot of instruction via Zoom and it was meaningful instruction. We didn’t want the kids to fall behind, explained the director.

Kenmont’s staff initiated a month-long plan for remote learning when the school closed its doors to in-person classes on March 13. This was done in anticipation of extended emergency orders and enabled teachers to prepare when a closure initially intended for two weeks stretched across two months.

The director said the pandemic has been difficult for students, teachers, and parents alike, but morale on Friday was strong. The school will open at whatever capacity the state allows in the fall; whether that involves a hybrid of remote and in-person learning remains up in the air as Texas schools wait for guidance from the governor.