One of the biggest concerns this past year was making sure our children didn’t fall through the cracks during distance learning. Throughout our conversation with Lynwood Unified board member Gary Hardie Jr. we delved a bit more into how his district handled the pandemic — and the challenges it presented. Gary likened the situation to driving a car; sometimes even when our GPS is set, we may have to use an alternate route if there’s construction, traffic, or another obstacle in our way. However, the destination does not change. While students, educators, and parents have been faced with a situation that required outside-of-the-box thinking, and plenty of alternate routes, the destination for our children has not changed. It is still imperative they have a quality education that prepares them for college and additional goals in life. That’s not to say any of this was easy, Lynwood Unified faced several challenges including making sure students had access to Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots. The district was also tasked with coordinating online town hall meetings and Facebook Live Q & A’s which wasn’t always smooth sailing. However, the district was able to pull their resources together and tackle additional issues their students faced, such as food insecurity. They were the first district to rally community leaders and create a food pantry that was accessible to all students. In addition, the district also set-up a hotline to help families deal with the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic. While 2020 was indeed a year of stress, anxiety, and self-reflection, it’s commendable to see a district going the extra mile to serve students and families during this unprecedented time. Listen to the episode here on Spotlight on Education Champions featuring Gary Hardie Jr. of Lynwood Unified and comment below on how your school has handled distance learning during the pandemic.
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