I am the mother of 2 children and reside in the Ashburn/Scottsdale community. My oldest daughter attends InterAmerican Magnet School where I currently serve on the LSC. Upon receiving the school's notification of the quarantine closure, our family began utilizing the homework packets that were made available. With the rolling out of E-learning curriculum and finalizing of each teacher's lesson plans, we hoped for continued high-quality education with minimal loss to students' progression.
There remained the issue of Internet access. Despite having Chromebooks, children still did not have Internet, a tool that is required in order to take part in classroom activities. Families without Internet were forced to find alternate solutions to help their child complete assignments. This included sitting in McDonald's parking lots, visiting a family member with access, or connecting to a cell phone's mobile spot (costly). In their efforts to adapt, many children suffered academically.
This pandemic highlighted many deficiencies that exist in our school system. Inequity and the historical lack of resources, particularly in our Black and brown communities, were magnified. A positive from this experience was that strides in the right direction were made: the mayor unveiled her $50 million dollar program for free high-speed Internet for CPS students over the next 4 years. Programs like this one will move the city in the direction of equal access for all children and families, no matter what neighborhood they reside in.
Another issue highlighted was the lack of resources and education of parents on how to navigate the E-learning platform proficiently. Many parents felt like they had the task of multiple teachers, and most were not properly equipped with training on how to utilize the primary tools. Going forward with the expectation that E-learning may be the new normal, it is important that we stand behind the saying "no child left behind". In order for our children to succeed, CPS has to work on successful and intentional partnering with our parent communities. This year we as parents STRUGGLED! Our desire is to partner with our children, with our schools, and our villages in their glorious and varied forms. The children are our future and it does take a village collectively to make this new change work. I, along with many parents, look forward to partnering to work towards solutions that will better the educational, emotional, and mental well being of our students and families.
— Chya Hughes, Ashburn/Scottsdale