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As school resumes online, districts must reach out to communities

School is finally starting again for students after summer break. After weeks and months of planning from education officials, we, as a community will see how the state and districts will address the inequities that we noticed with the transition towards online at the end of last school year.

When I talked to teachers and parents in June about their experience with online learning, it was clear that one of the biggest challenges districts face with ongoing virtual learning is that it has disrupted the feeling of community and connection between teachers and families.

My friend Delisha Boyd from Aurora’s Rangeview High School talked to me specifically about how community helps students and provides for their emotional needs. This helps them focus on their academics and find success. It is difficult, if not impossible for this feeling of community to be created on a virtual platform.

As students return it will be important that schools in the Aurora Public Schools district reach out to make sure they are relying on the expertise of members of communities to address student needs. While the district can create the necessary baseline for how schools should operate, the schools themselves are where change can actually happen.

As an educator, I have found that my community has been vital in helping me understand how to approach this school year. Talking to families and students helps me understand that while we are walking into uncharted territory, so are those we serve.

To make sure students are getting a quality learning experience, we as educators and decision-makers in education will have to be innovative and flexible. Covid-19 has disrupted student learning, and as adults it falls to us to minimize the negative impacts on our students and children.

Anne Keke
Dr. Anne Keke is a Native of Cote d’Ivoire, now a U.S. citizen living in Aurora, Colorado since 2001 with her family. From 2010 to 2012, she worked with the District Attorney's Office in the 18th Judicial District in Littleton, Colorado, and the Arapahoe County Juvenile Probation Department. During this time, she worked with both juveniles and adults. Presently, she holds the position of instructor of languages with the Colorado Early Colleges and holds the position of Restorative Justice Coordinator. After teaching, she utilizes the rest of her time is to ensure strong relationships between students and instructors, between administrators and instructors, and between instructor and instructor. Dr. Keke holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Colorado Denver and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Colorado Technical University. In 2019 she received a Doctorate (D.M) in Management with a Minor in Criminal Justice from Colorado Technical University Aurora, CO. In her free time, Dr. Keke likes to explore the mountains and dedicates most of her time to her family.

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