On October 14th, in partnership with Family Ties of Westchester, WCA hosted a virtual Town Hall on Remote Learning for Parents and Guardians of Westchester Students. This Town Hall was a way to provide a platform to elevate the voices of parents and guardians to county and state leaders during this quickly-changing and challenging time. We were joined by over 50 parents and guardians from across the county and heard several of them speak directly on their experiences with remote and hybrid learning. Listening and responding with actionable solutions were New York State (NYS) Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, NYS Senator and Education Committee Chair Shelley Mayer, NYS Assemblyman Steve Otis, and Westchester County Legislator Christopher Johnson.
Key points raised included school attendance issues among both students and teachers, the need for clear and consistent communication to parents from the school and districts, and challenges faced by ESL families. Parents and guardians also discussed the
financial impact of remote learning on families and the challenges of balancing their own work and academic support for children including those with special needs. There was a focus on access to technology and Wi-Fi, the use of school discipline, and difficulty concentrating in a remote learning environment. The social and emotional toll on both children and parents/guardians was evident.
One of the most promising solutions offered during the Town Hall involved meeting with the NYS Board of Regents, the government body that oversees the NYS Education Department. The Board of Regents can directly reshape policies and practices to better meet the needs of parents and students as teachers and school administrators navigate this unprecedented educational landscape.
WCA will continue to work with Family Ties, parents, guardians, and our Remote Learning Workgroup of school districts, elected officials, child advocates, and community organizations to deliver solutions for families across the County. WCA’s Remote Learning Workgroup also launched our Advocacy Agenda at the end of the event.
We are collaborating to take on challenges facing all parents and students during remote learning, with emphasis on promoting equity and closing the digital divide in access to technology across the County. Senator Mayer’s proposed LEARN legislation she mentioned that evening, offers possible remedies. Our Advocacy Agenda is the first development and we will continue to update and incorporate parent perspectives as shared during the event.
Read more WCA eBulletin #8 articles:
- Virtual Benefit registration at ~ wca4kids.org/imagine
- 2020 Vote for Kids Candidate Survey results released!
- New publication: Black Children of Westchester Report
- Voting tips and tools from Project 2020