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COVID-19

Can we prevent a year of lost learning?

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As an educator and parent, reflecting on the current state of education in our community, I must admit that the struggle is real on all fronts.

In some schools, teachers are asked to do more work for less pay because of Covid 19 and are already feeling burnout knocking at the door. Parents are at their wits end and some of them are pleading for schools to reopen.

Mrs. Ahoassou, a community member shared with me how she is struggling to make sure her first-grader sits still to learn via Zoom, and how she is ready for him to rejoin the classroom in person.

My concern with the challenges we are facing is how they are negatively impacting students. Educators, parents and policymakers owe it to students to find creative ways to keep them engaged and on task. It is our responsibility to re-motivate high school students who have lost all desire to learn.

We must close the learning achievement gap that was already vast and is now widening every day. The so-called COVID slide is exacerbating inequities between different Aurora Public Schools communities.

The real questions are: Should we really think about re-opening schools despite the pandemic still raging and save this year at all costs? Or should we keep doing what we are doing?  And Is coming back in-person going to solve every issue teachers are facing teaching virtually during this pandemic?

APS announced a return to in-person learning after fall break. I’m hearing a lot of comments and different opinions both for and against the decision.

The fact of the matter is, a lot of students especially those in marginalized communities are being left behind and many affluent parents are spending a lot of money on their kids’ education.

Some well-to-do families are coming together to hire private teachers, form pandemic pods, or paying for tutoring programs outside of the school system. Meanwhile, people most negatively impacted by the pandemic and response to it are those with little to no help, including the families and communities of essential workers.

Everybody is talking about equity, equality and inclusion, while in truth, efforts to ensure those values have been episodic at best.  We have to make sure that the system improves NOW, not wait until this pandemic has been dealt with or eradicated.

I certainly don’t have clear-cut answer to all the questions everyone is asking about what to do to make sure students aren’t left behind. However, as a teacher who believes that education is as essential as any other first line occupation, I want to make sure that this is not going to be a lost year.

Anne Keke
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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