Welcome to this new landscape – remote learning in New York City. We are all figuring out how to navigate this world together in ways that make sense for each of us.
One important piece to share is about attendance: The Department of Education has asked that teachers make daily contact with each student or family, to make sure everyone is doing well and is able to connect. This can be through your Google Classroom, a Zoom meeting, an email, or phone call – it’s flexible, but, this is why teachers might reach out to you personally if they don’t see your child interacting in the digital space. Think of it as a loving wellness check.
The DOE has added a phone line to complete the tech survey to make a request for an iPad, if your child does not have enough access to technology at home: 718-935-5100, Option 5. Because of the governor’s more stringent restrictions, they have moved from a distribution center model to shipping devices. We do not have more details beyond this information – but will certainly share as we get updates.
The DOE has also launched “REC” centers around the city for children of health care workers, FDNY, NYPD, OEM and some NYCTA roles who need childcare. “NYCDOE Regional Enrichment Center will be open 7:30am – 6:00pm Monday-Friday, starting on Monday, March 23rd. Regional Enrichment Centers are only open to children who are New York City residents, and whose parents/guardians are in certain fields noted below (initially: health care, FDNY, NYPD, OEM and some NYCTA roles).” Fill out this survey if this applies to you.
As we try to make sense of this new reality, we think it is important to extract the positive from the many frustrations and challenges present for all of us.
Some highlights we’ve come across so far in this strange new world include:
A parent shares about Third grader, Bella, FaceTiming with Etta, her second grade friend, with whom she rides the bus. As they FaceTime, they “ride the bus” to home school.
Louie in Tammy’s first grade class wrote a letter to his teacher last week, documenting his work that’s happening at home. For some children, making a connection to school right away felt essential. He illustrates a math game and promises to read:
Janet Rhi, BNS Kindergarten and First Grade teacher who is home on her maternity leave, shared a “Social Story” written by a teacher at her previous school (PS 59) about all of us being at home. This kind of cross-school support network has been clear as teachers planned and collaborated last week and all weekend to launch their classrooms. Fifth grader, Noa, intervention teacher Heather’s daughter, then created a video of herself reading this story. Days At Home read by Noa on Vimeo
Teachers have collaborated by email to respond to a prompt to test out our tech by making a video of a read aloud. Remember that stories can be windows into the lives of others, mirrors of our own lives, and sliding glass doors into another reality. Check out Courage read by Alex on Vimeo, a read aloud, which will help all of us to persevere. And a moment of levity, thanks to first grade teacher Bill and his Dance Party #1.
This week is our first week of remote learning. Our technology specialist, Ed Kelly, is supporting all of the teachers as they navigate this new world. If you have tech questions, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Diane will pass the toughest questions along to Ed for additional support.
School is so much more than mathematical operations, reading and written assignments. It’s interacting, sharing with each other and trying new things. School is a place for growth and development, and a place for support and care. While we are missing the relationships that are so strong within 610 Henry, we are trying at every turn to remember that we are all in this together. So, don’t worry if doing the work is too hard. Instead, focus on developing daily routines, which help you and your children feel connected.
Stay in touch, not just with us, but with your families, friends and colleagues.
Last week when we were at 610 Henry Street without the children, the building had a sad emptiness, full of abandoned classrooms missing their hearts and souls.
We know this is hard.
Until next time,
Anna and Diane
This week, we’ll be updating the calendar to include zoom meetings. Check back to stay in touch!
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