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.