Support our Students (S-O-S)! Help the most vulnerable kids during virtual learning!
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We, the Westside Education Think Tank, have been working diligently to build support in the community for our most vulnerable homeless students, during the time of COVID-19 school with closures/virtual learning. We know the more affluent members of our community have been creating alternative learning opportunities through the creation of community learning pods with paid supervision, to provide support for their children and parents. Our homeless students and families often are subject to great adversity, and even more so during these uncertain times, including simply having a space conducive to learning. Therefore, every effort needs to be made to ensure the equity gap does not detrimentally increase during remote learning. Inaction would not only be a disservice to the community that you are charged to serve but is also in contradiction to the requirement to provide a sound and basic education for every student.
We have made some strides in building support for students through the collection of information about spaces that can be made available to the community for education. However, an all-encompassing plan must be executed to ensure all students are equitably educated. During these times, this will take innovative thinking and action.
This is a direct request that all elected officials at the state, county, and municipal government levels work together to provide support to a Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) plan to create equity in a situation that poses so many obstacles for parents and children of low social-economic status and disabilities.
We believe the following efforts will support a CMS plan to get children equitably educated during these epic times:
1. Create a more detailed plan with metrics that are specific to each community’s unique needs: Identify the parameters of when students should or should not attend school in person; how to educate ALL students virtually; and how/when students can be returned to school.
2. Make public spaces (i.e. recreation centers, libraries) available for virtual learning/learning pods.
3. Utilize community spaces (i.e. churches, non-profit spaces, businesses).
4. Open a limited number of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to accommodate most vulnerable students, such as but not limited to; children that are homeless, disabled, and with open Department of Social Services cases for abuse or neglect.
5. Provide staff and supervision to ensure learning in a safe environment is taking place in either a public, private, or commercial space.
6. Engage afterschool providers to provide support for virtual learning/learning pods and to provide afterschool and enrichment care for students who fit the above criteria.
We have a deep desire to be presented with clear plans about where we are headed in the wake of COVID-19. Proper planning, proactivity, and considering the most vulnerable not only builds trust, it supports the equality and equity we all believe we are working toward.
We are in this together!
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