Breathe! A word of thanks on school closures and embracing the redesign of school from home.
There are at least 98,000 public schools and at least 34,000 private schools in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Those schools educate almost 50.8 million public school students and 5.8 million private school students.
As of March 19, 2020, at 8:20 p.m., ET 44 states have decided to close schools. Combined with district closures in other states, at least 104,000 U.S. public and private schools are closed, are scheduled to close, affecting at least 47.9 million school students across the U.S. (Education Week).
In an unprecedented move, this past week over 85-90% of students and teachers in K-12 US schools are either undertaking, are scheduled to take or are trying to figure out what at home, socially distanced and mediated learning could really be like. We are all suddenly embracing the redesign of school from home. Alone, yet together.
With this, I share a message to educators, administrators and school leaders everywhere. Thank you, and please breathe.
Thank you for pivoting in a matter of days and organizing the closure of our schools. To caring outwardly for our children and families, while carrying inside, a deep worry about your own.
Thank you for mobilizing the movement of learning on-mass out of the classroom for millions of children and to re-imagining learning at home, through a screen, and with you and your colleagues in your homes on the other side.
Thank you, for being the calm in the storm, the patience and guiding hand while we’re settling in for the ride. To showing-up, every day amidst the cloud of pandemic worries and being committed to exploring “how might we” develop a new way of at home, socially distanced and mediated learning.
Thank you for sending home what tangible, physical and digital resources you could in backpacks and school bags, and for sending emails to parents, letting them know what was happening and why, updating and assuring them, quickly, and in days.
Thank you for thinking “how might we” use all these new resources posted and trending in our news feeds, when many of you may have never used them before. Be it Zoom, Google Meet (Hangouts), YouTube (“GoLive”), FlipGird, Google Classroom, BrainPop, GoGuardian, BeanStalk, ClassDojo, Seesaw, NEWSELA, Mo Williams Lunch Doodles, and the lists upon lists of apps, articles, websites and of celebrity and author readings popping up on our screens, all shared with heart and great intention.
Thank you, for showing up amidst the cloud of pandemic worry to develop for the children now at-home activities and readings, instructions and exercises, challenges and provocations, worksheets and guides, to finding websites and learning apps, planning with colleagues and recording videos, that then … take hours to upload.
Thank you for caring so much about the learning of another’s children, that while starting on this journey at home with your own, you answer emails, monitor team chats, hop on zoom and virtual meetings and explore this new world of home, remote, distance, online, mediated, digital and socially distanced learning while also working.
Thank you for being the silver lining that many of us and our children want to see, and to hear from through our screens, on our calls and in the cloud every single day. Thank you for being some of the most innovative, creative and entrepreneurial souls our society has ever seen, while selfless and paid less than many of you should be.
To K-12 educators, administrators, and school leaders everywhere, thank you.
Now, together let’s breathe, take a moment, a few days or perhaps a few weeks to ease our way into a new cadence of learning from home, alone yet together.