On March 11, Malverne High School in Nassau County, New York, collected cell phones from their students in an attempt to help them become more mindful and focused in school. Within three days, as they prepared to shut down in the wake of Covid-19, “We were telling them, ‘connect, connect, connect,’” principal Dr. Vincent Romano says. All Malverne students were given iPads, and teachers have plunged into teaching their classes and are staying in touch with their students. But the school closure, Romano said, “is devastating,” particularly for seniors who were looking forward to the spring musical and athletic contests. “The prom is still on the table,” Romano says hopefully. But at this point it is impossible to know when it will be safe to stop social isolation, and whether Malverne will be able to have a graduation ceremony is in doubt.

In this episode of ExtraOrdinary Districts in Extraordinary Times, Romano shares how Malverne is navigating grades, college admissions, and providing support to students. Afterward, podcast host Karin Chenoweth talks with Tanji Reed Marshall, Ed Trust’s director of practice. To learn more about Malverne High School, read Chapter 2 of Schools that Succeed (Harvard Education Press, 2017).