We’ve all seen the memes of parents being fed up with their children during virtual schooling. The global pandemic has completely altered education. Parents’ lives turned upside down when schools closed and they suddenly had to add “teacher” to their resumes. Children have been far away from the structure of traditional school. And those families in poorer districts may be struggling to keep up. Partnership Schools is a network of seven Catholic schools in Harlem and the South Bronx, two of the poorest congressional districts in the country. But superintendent Kathleen Porter-Magee and executive director Jill Kafka tell Bold TV how they are “amazed by the resilience of the parents.”
In addition to educating 2,000 children, this school system values supporting their families. So they’ve gone to great lengths to make the transition easier. They waived the remainder of tuition and fees for the semester. They also established a COVID-19 family relief fund to help families in difficult situations. They’ve raised around $900,000. Many families didn’t have WiFi or digital devices for the students to complete assignments. Because of the diligence of the school system’s leadership, every child received a device to use during the lockdown. And many WiFi carriers in the city are offering internet access for those in need.
Virtual schooling is a delicate balance. With too much technology, the children stare at screens all day. With too much paper and pencil, there’s more pressure on the parents. School systems face the challenging task of continuing the students’ learning in an unprecedented situation, and parents face the challenging task of taking on a teacher’s job. Partnership Schools is one system trying to find the delicate balance while supporting families. But summer is approaching soon.