While school districts all over the country have been faced with an unprecedented challenge to serve their students in the midst of a major crisis, I have been incredibly impressed with how my child’s district has handled things. They have really been leading during Coronavirus.
First, district and school staff paused and asked questions to decide the most impactful next steps, something that is hard to do when in “crisis mode.” Our students and families have benefited from the leadership CPS educators have shown during this time. A number of our partner schools are part of Cincinnati Public Schools. They’ve used Possip to learn about parent needs, questions, and ideas. In addition to that, here’s what Cincinnati Public Schools has done right:
Leading during Coronavirus means focusing on the greatest need of students and families first. For many, this is food.
Cincinnati Public Schools created a plan to serve food to any children in the city. They set up stations outside schools in the highest need areas two days a week where families can pick up multiple days of breakfasts and lunches. With limiting it to two days a week, the district is minimizing exposures while still ensuring kids get 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches each week. They are also offering sanitation/cleaning packs at these pick-up locations. While transportation to these pick-up locations is still creating challenges for some families, community groups are stepping up to help fill gaps.
CPS Schools made homework packages available through multiple mediums.
Many schools had the homework packages printed and sent home with students prior to the shutdown. They are also available online and at the food stations. And in great partnership with businesses, they are available at all the local Staples stores for pick up. Families will continue having challenges gaining learning opportunities at home during this time. Still, by offering multiple mediums to share the work, and relying on both online and offline tools, they are doing a lot to making it accessible for all families.Leading during Coronavirus means considering multiple and diverse needs, and aiming to meet those diverse needs.
Teachers & Staff are connecting with students directly.
My son’s teachers set up two zoom meetings for their students to connect after a few days apart. The children’s faces lit up getting a chance to see their friends and teachers. Other teachers are doing online video art classes, reading bedtime stories, and online lessons. Teachers make it clear how much they care for our students. It is heartening to know that even while they are dealing with their own families and uncertainty, they are still committed to their students.
Communicating resources and ways the community can help.
Plans have been changing as the days go on and the district is keeping us informed through emails, robocalls, and on their website. They have let the local community know how they can be most helpful and what resource gaps they have. Churches have stepped up as locations for packet pick-up and supply distribution. Leading during Coronvirus means constant communication and multiple methods of it.
As the situation evolves, I am certain there will be challenges. But if they continue to listen to what their families are saying and putting students first, I am confident that they will come up with creative solutions.
For more about what Cincinnati Public Schools is doing, check out their updates here: https://www.cps-k12.org/news/coronavirus