Our Greatest Strength—And A Few Resources

In the face of a strange unknown, so many people are doing their best to cope–and while that may fall short of the/an ideal (whatever that ideal may be–cancelling PARCC, staying healthy, locating a treasure trove of TP, etc.), the old saw that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” still remains true.

So, toward ensuring that We the People (i.e., you) continue to be DC’s greatest asset and strength, below is a compilation of resources and information around DC’s publicly funded schools that many have worked hard to provide. It’s not complete by any means–but a start.

Feel free to add on via the comments, which I can then incorporate–thank you. In the meantime, here’s to good luck and better health for everyone.

Budget Hearings: While the council has cancelled budget oversight hearings starting this coming week through April, it has also passed legislation to protect various pieces of our lives in DC and postponed the time the budget has to be enacted by the mayor. It’s not exactly kicking the can down the road as much as creating (literal and figurative) breathing room.

Budget Advocacy: Part of that breathing room now is to focus on budget advocacy, for which the DC public education coalition C4DC has created a number of very helpful documents as well as information and tools (see here and here) to use WRT advocating for DCPS budgets.

DCPS Online Learning, Teacher Perspective: DCPS starts its online learning next week. Below is a helpful primer that Duke Ellington HS science teacher Eileen Pascucci sent out to her students (which I am reprinting here with her permission):

“Tuesday (3/24) is when teachers will be expected to provide at least 4 hours per day of virtual office hours, direct instruction or virtual support. DCPS made it very clear that for the first two weeks, we are only to review or practice applications of current content. We are not going to try to teach new content in this strange new world of distance learning yet. Only if we go beyond 2 weeks (and therefore have had time to work out the kinks of distance learning) are we expected to teach new content or skills.

“What are teachers thinking this will look like? Most are saying they want to make this as low stress as possible for STUDENTS. We are talking about learning more about Zoom to have face to face meetings/classes. But, those classes will be recorded so students with time restrictions can watch them on their own time. We are talking about using Gchat and other IM ways to answer questions in real-time for you. We are talking about coordinating with each other to make sure we are not all holding virtual classes at the same time. Many are trying to find ways for you all to learn content with minimal screen time needed.

“Mostly we are talking about how much we miss you all already! We are not online teachers for a reason! We want to be in the room with you all teaching and learning face to face. Get ready to make fun of us for being terrible online teachers! We are going to mess up videos, have terrible microphones and will have to try to do science labs in our kitchens.”

DCPS Distance Learning: Here is a helpful slide show from DCPS for teachers, which not only outlines how distance learning may work, but also provides helpful resources.

DC Public Charter Board Meeting 3/23/2020: The (rescheduled) March charter board meeting will be virtual only. Deadline for signing up to give public comment is noon on Monday March 23. Access to the meeting will be by phone or Zoom. For more information, see here.

Free DC Student Meals: Here is a list (current as of this posting today) for meal locations and times around DC for ALL students.

Parent Resource Page: Here’s a page of parent resources in and outside DC.

Free Groceries: Here is a page for locations and times for free local groceries provided by Martha’s Table.

Meals For The City: Meals provided at Kelly Miller MS among other locales in a list here.

Free/Reduced Price Internet For DC Students: See here.

Mutual Aid: Here is a list of ward hotlines:

Ward 1: (202) 681-9183
Ward 2: (202) 688-5812
Ward 4: (202) 681-3098
Ward 5: (202) 643-7030
Ward 6: (202) 683-9962
Wards 7 & 8: (202) 630-0336

Here is a flyer, from the Ward 7 Ed Council, with more information about mutual aid for EOTR.

Help Report On What’s It Like To Be A DC Parent Of A School Child Now: WAMU reporter Debbie Truong is looking to speak with parents “who are struggling to balance childcare while schools are closed with work. I’d talk with any parents who would be willing to share their experience, but I’d especially like to hear from parents who work jobs in retail, food service or healthcare and must still report to work amid all of this.

“Also, I’d like to hear from parents who have children enrolled in special education services or who are English Learners. I’d like to hear about how or if their children are getting specialized instruction over the closures. I’d also like to hear if they are concerned about getting those services while schools are closed.”

Contact: Debbie Truong, education reporter, 202-885-3819, email: dtruong@wamu.org, twitter @debbietruong

Stuff To Do (Besides Worrying And Eating Dried Pasta):

–Virtual museum tours
DC corona virus case graphing as a math/history exercise (thanks to ed data geek Betsy Wolf)
–Add to a running list of fun activities compiled by Ward 6 ed council head Suzanne Wells. One of those events is tonight, Friday, March 20, at 6 PM! Be sure to step out in your front yard or open your windows and SING! You and your neighbors will be engaging in three rounds of Bill Withers’ Lean On Me.

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