Adding a musical twist on school announcements is something Rudy Swofford, principal at Summerfield Charter Academy, is known for. From snow day school closing songs, to his “Lost in the School" performance, a rendition of “Lost in the Woods” by Jonathan Groff, a song from Disney’s “Frozen 2,” Swofford makes sharing news fun.
His most recent musical announcement featured Swofford traveling throughout the school while performing his parody of "You'll Be Back" from “Hamilton".
“I, like many others, watched Hamilton on Disney+ during the pandemic, I heard the song and thought that would be a good parody to do,” said Swofford. “I wrote it and recorded it at home and filmed the video at the school through a lot of trial and error.” The first release of the video was a link on Summerfield’s daily attendance form they were using for the first week of school. From there, Swofford posted it on Summerfield’s Facebook page and included it in an email to all parents.
As always, the opening scene is Swofford sitting at the piano as he begins to sing his pep talk for students participating in remote learning.
You say that leaving the school had you missing it every day
You cried with your laptop at home as the days seemed to go by and by
Why so sad?
Remember we made an arrangement when you went away
Now parents, don’t be mad
Remember despite doubt or estrangement, I’m your man
You’ll be back, soon you’ll see
You’ll remember you belong with me
You’ll be back, time will tell
You’ll remember the hallways well
COVID came, that was all
We would see eachother in the fall
And, when push comes to shove
I will build a virtual option to remind you of my love
Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da
Da da dat dat da ya da!
Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da
Da da dat dat da
Summerfield kicked off its 2020-21 school year operating in a remote setting where scholars learn online. Swofford shared that his favorite part of the first week of school was seeing students in the school building on Monday and Tuesday as they picked up materials for remote learning.
Through the video, he reminds the Summerfield school community to stay “Stampede Strong,” which is a nod to the “Stampede Family.” This represents the culture at Summerfield, which is a student-centered family that cares for academic excellence and involves school leaders and educators making decisions based on parents being part of the family.
“Stampede Strong” is the theme for this year to remind staff, students, and families to remain resilient and tough as they navigate the school year. “We chose this theme because starting the school year in this fashion is hard. The whole pandemic restrictions with masks, health screenings, temperature checks, etc., can be draining,” shared Swofford. “Our staff is working hard to create a robust, rigorous, and relational remote learning experience for our scholars. I’m proud of their effort, hard work, flexibility, and willingness to take on this challenge and do it well.”
Reflecting on the first day and week of school, Swofford shared that it went well. Staff spent time in an open house setting the beginning of the week and dove into orientation the rest of the week as they walked through their schedule and prepared for more learning.
It is still surreal for Swofford to be back at school right now because kids are not there. “We see them online, but the school is quiet and lacks that fun energy when scholars are walking the halls and learning every day,” said Swofford. For him, accepting the fact that this school year isn’t normal allows educators and students to adapt instead of criticizing and waiting for it to be normal. “Doing daily announcements and including items like birthdays, announcements, Moral Focus, and Friday Funnies help keep certain traditions alive,” said Swofford. “Scholars will see me at the school and will continue to see Summerfield teachers throughout the day as we follow a normal school day routine even though we are remote.”