Good news from Patrick Henry High School

PHriday PHamily Phly-Bys organizer Maria Ahlgren leads a caravan of PHHS staff. Photo by Alex Conover, PHHS Instructor.

PHriday PHamily Phly-Bys

During the first week of distance learning due to COVID-19, Henry High staffer Maria Ahlgren and colleague Rosa Costain were lamenting the loss of face-to-face contact with their students, and trying to figure out how to connect with them more personally. They came up with the idea of PHriday PHamily Phly-Bys, creating caravans of PHHS staff stopping outside of students’ homes. Maria and Rosa contacted their students first, then broadened the base by sharing their idea with their Facebook Henry staff group. The idea was embraced, and all staff was invited to participate. Many eagerly concurred that this would be an activity that they would want to join.

Names of students to be visited first came from staff. Later all PHHS students were informed via email to respond if they wanted to be included. Current Northside 9th, 10th and 11th graders were reached out to by email or phone. Later focus was centered on 2020 PHHS seniors. Three routes have been usually planned for 10 to 12 staff vehicles each Friday. Permission was sought from individual students and their families. Each was called the week of and notified of the approximate time of their visit.

PHriday PHamily Phly-Bys have stopped by at least 400 homes, connecting students and their families and staff with conversations from doorsteps, megaphones, trumpet fanfare, signs, bubbles and more. Henry High 2020 graduates received lawn signs heralding their accomplishment. As of May 15, a total of 14 routes had been completed. The caravans even traveled to homes of PHHS students living outside of North Minneapolis, in Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park Plymouth, Fridley, Golden Valley, South Minneapolis and West St. Paul. PHriday PHamily Phly-Bys are planned through the first Friday of June. Responses of staff show their gratitude for this activity. Ahlgren said, “This is something to look forward to at the end of the week.”