We need to think and work strategically and creatively by Dr. Angela McIver

Posted on April 1, 2020
Categories: Insights with the Board

I know that the lives of every single person in the city changed abruptly on March 16 when schools were closed, and parents were left to figure out how to adjust. Every day I wake up thinking that so many of our parents are essential workers who are reporting to hospitals, grocery stores, shipping companies, fire departments, police precincts and more. I am also thinking about all of the parents who have suddenly found themselves without a paycheck and worrying about rent or buying groceries. This shutdown is impacting families in so many ways, and I am left to think how can we, as a board, help ease the burden a bit.

For many, how to continue your child’s learning has taken a back seat to other more understandably pressing issues. Yet for others, continuing to teach our kids is a most urgent call. To both groups I say, The School District knows this. Over the past several weeks, I have witnessed a School District that has brought all resources – human capital and otherwise – to bear in order to quickly pivot to a remote learning model. I’ve witnessed a School District address the large number of children who are food-insecure and digitally divided from their peers by providing meals and learning packets to children in need (the numbers are staggering). But please realize that as we’ve seen our wealthier neighboring districts move fairly seamlessly to online learning, our District – and so many others like us across the country – is faced with challenges that are the result of unequal funding that this pandemic has only highlighted.

In the coming weeks and months, we need to think and work strategically and creatively so that we are in a better place when we come out on the other side. This means being willing to look at the challenges that are being magnified by this crisis and mobilizing to ensure greater systemic changes to provide learning opportunities for all students.

This is uncharted territory and we have no playbook, but we are Philly and we can do this.