Now the Return…

School is now officially back in session, and not a moment too soon! Students and families are more than ready to return to some sense of normalcy after 18 months of an unprecedented disruption to routines and relationships, and life in general. We almost didn’t make it, but here we are.

But what now is normal? When the pandemic struck, we all went to survival mode to get tools and resources to students and families to make sure that at the very least some level of teaching and learning could continue to occur. Laptops, Chromebooks and internet modems were distributed to students, and educators were rapidly trained as online professionals, as the venue for learning changed from the classroom to the living room (and the dining room, bedroom, basement, etc.).

As venues and teaching modems changed, so too did the role of the parents and family members. Never before have parents and family members been so engaged in the multiple stages and phases of the learning process: including scheduling; classroom management; resource acquisition and distribution; behavioral support; coursework review; recess and recreation; and also, lunch! When we include the fact that parents are the primary adult in their children’s lives responsible for their success at every stage and level, it makes sense that they have a lot to say and share about their experiences over the past year and a half, and what they believe it means for the future.

To realize the opportunity from this crisis, and achieve transformational change, we need to know and understand what parents and family members identify as most critical and essential for their child’s learning and their success.

This is why ROC the Future has identified parent engagement as our Wildly Important Goal and are seeking to reach 6,000 parents over the next year to share what they have learned. ROC the Future partners will soon be connecting with their parents, and we’ll be going into the community to reach as many parents as we can to find out what they say is most important for their child’s success. We are at the very beginning stage of this effort, but please be on the lookout for more information from us and our partners. We’ll be sharing regular updates throughout this school year to make sure we’re all working on this together.

As we build our new future together, we know that we are not out of the woods yet. Covid numbers are increasing again, and there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the future will look like, or even how to effectively plan for it. What we do know, though, is that our collective future rests almost entirely on our ability to build better relationships with parents and families. Building better relationships helps to build trust, which is essential for building our community.

And again, there is no better way to build than forward and together.

For the Children,
Eldress Campbell