As our country deals with the unprecedented challenges that this current pandemic is bringing to so many facets of our lives, we know that there will be tough decisions, low moments, and changing landscapes. Over the last month, our team has continued aggressively working to be a resource, a voice, and an advocate to decision makers on key education issues that have emerged due to COVID-19. Now, perhaps more than ever, JerseyCAN’s advocacy and commitment to ensuring all students can obtain an excellent education is necessary.

However, as a former educator, education advocate, parent, and New Jerseyan, I need right now to quite simply say thank you to the education community of New Jersey.  I have always known that we have the best educators in the country, who are selflessly devoted to the educational, social, and emotional well-being of our students. But, the events of the last month, particularly the responses of our educators to the shuttering of schools for our 1.4 million school children in New Jersey have left me truly speechless. 

Certainly, “best practices,” equity issues, and policy implications will emerge, and there will be a crucial need for all of those important conversations, but right now, all I want and NEED to say to our education community across the state is: “THANK YOU.”

  • Thank you for thinking about and making sure that the students who rely on our schools for food and nourishment have a way to eat while our schools are close. Read about Camden, Paterson, Asbury Park and Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
  • Thank you for racing to collaborate with your school leadership, other teachers, and parents to prepare virtual and distance learning plans  as our state quickly shut down the physical locations of our  education system.  
  • Thank you to those schools and community groups who thought through whether our neediest students had the tools necessary for remote and distance learning. 
  • Thank you to the school therapists, counselors, social workers, and community groups who are finding new and innovative ways to check-in with students during this time. Read about Somer Point’s and Neptune’s staff parades for students.
  • Thank you to the teachers who are teaching our students virtually from their kitchens, basements, and laundry rooms, sometimes while their own kids are looking-in. Read and watch the creative ways teachers are engaging their homebound students.
  • And most importantly, thank you for helping parents and families carry forward the message to our students that even during uncertain times, we can still learn, grow, and come together as a community.  

During this time, we want to shine a light on the amazing examples of remote and distance learning that we are seeing from our educator community across the state, as well as opportunities that this time presents to innovate for the future. We will share these examples with you in the coming days and weeks via our blog and social media.  And we invite you to share stories or features of what you are seeing with us on social media or by e-mailing us at Patricia.Morgan@JerseyCAN.org. As Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  Help us see and shine a light on the opportunities during these challenging times.

Yours in Education,

 

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