May 31, 2020
Canterbury School is a preschool–8th grade Episcopal school in Greensboro, NC. Its mission is to develop the whole child by challenging the mind and nourishing the spirit in a diverse community guided by Judeo-Christian values.
When school campuses closed in early March, Canterbury School knew it had to adapt its traditional Grandparents’ Day, a beloved annual event in the school community.
The school’s traditional Grandparents’ Day is an on-campus event. Grandparents attend school chapel, participate in a classroom activity with their grandchild, and attend a reception with the Head of School and student actors and musicians. As live events were no longer an option this year, the school had to make some quick decisions.
Anne Krishnan, Canterbury School’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator, explained how their team pivoted Grandparents’ Day to a webinar in just one week.
This webinar consisted of:
- Opening remarks and an update from the Head of School
- A prayer from the Chaplain
- A seminar on financial planning for the grandparents amid the current economic climate. This was led by financial advisors who are also parents at the school.
Canterbury School’s team wanted to ensure its seminar was useful to attendees, providing information they could use right away. While they knew it wasn’t feasible to hold Grandparents’ Day as they traditionally had, they knew they could use this time to provide value for their school’s families.
They also made sure to use technology that was easy for grandparents. It was vital to have an option that was “one-click” for grandparents to log on to the webinar.
Tune in to live webinars every week during the school year to get specific, research-backed insight you can immediately apply at your school.
However, Canterbury School’s team didn’t want to lose the connections between grandparents and grandchildren that the in-person event fostered.
Therefore, they provided an optional activity where grandchildren could interview their grandparents on important aspects of their lives. Canterbury School’s team based this activity loosely on the Storycorps model. This provided an avenue for connection between families, especially while many were social distancing. There was no pressure around this assignment; instead, they focused on families sharing their histories.
Canterbury School’s team produced a great webinar. While turnout was lower than their in-person event attendance, it received positive feedback.
Canterbury School provides the perfect example of how to pivot an in-person event to an online one.
- Make the experience relevant and seamless for attendees. Don’t try to just translate an in-person format to a virtual one.
- Share content that provides value.
- Maintain connection and help attendees create positive memories associated with your school.
Many thanks to Anne Krishnan and the Canterbury School team for sharing their story with us!
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