Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization (W6PSPO)
May 7, 2020
1- Digital Equity in DC Education Update
- DCPS has distributed ~8K devices. Elementary school distributions happening this week.
- Sent 2 pages of recommendations to DCPS. Asked for additional tech support; ensure curriculum includes picking up digital literacy skills
- Wifi was set up in public spaces, not in public housing units
- Pushing for analytical framework so there can be broader options at different price points
- FY21 budget asks: DC Education Coalition for Change (DECC) trying to figure out – is there a way to advocate for federal funding
Q: sense on how many students still need laptops? When schools handout devices and hotspots they learn more about who needs them. Lacking good data on the full need. School principal shave a good sense of who needs them, but not down to the family level detail
Want DC gov now to start looking at options; if fed $ comes
2 – Re-Open DC Letter
- 200+ signatures, based on ideas and Qs parents are asking about response to pandemic
- Asked DME how groups are invited to participate, and stressed those most impacted need to be at the table. DME responded, but did not answer how ‘seats at the table’ are selected
3 – Re-Open DC Education and Child Care Committee
- All input received has been taken into consideration
- What got heard: families will be allowed to opt out
- A lot of fear about bringing teachers and students back to school while there will be a lot of pressure on the schools to open up.
- Concern there can’t be a long-term phrase of mostly online learning
- Need to get students back to their communities and schools
- Concerns; if we go back to school with social distancing, DCPS must take advantage of the space it has
- Committee report now due May 15. Committee members not likely to see report before it goes to the Mayor.
- At what level is it prescriptive? How much does Department of Health determine and how much do LEAs? Will there be DoH on site to manage/watch over implementation of risk mitigators
- Need to push DCPS to hear voice of parents who have to be at work, those struggling with digital learning, students who are ELL and those missing sense of community
Q: Education report goes to Mendelson/Rice/Fenty/ will form all the input into one doc. Unclear who is doing the writing (Kihn, etc?)
- Will there be consistent recommendations across sectors?
- Acknowledgement that families should have right to make own decisions and schools should have the responsibility to connect with families
- Not a lot of disagreement across what various groups submitted
Q: What was Liz Davis’ input?
- Feedback from teachers with concerns on how will they be protected
- WTU sent out survey and had 45 teachers volunteer to serve on a task force. Concerns about getting sick and bringing back illness to their families; a lot of questions and concerns are driven by safety concerns
- Goal is to go back to the classroom
- Issues were around PD/use of platforms; online learning
- Huge concern on digital divide; up to half students aren’t participating in digital learning
- Can we use Canvas? Series of videos being created
- Is there a way for teachers to provide feedback to central offices about what they need?
- All feedback going through principals
- A lot of work can be done over the summer; need a lot of voices over the summer
- It’s a big threat to DCPS if we transfer to long term distance learning – we have to make it safe, but need to think creatively about how to do this.
- Need to make sure all health forms are in with the DCPS deadline to support healthy schools