So much has been asked of parents during this time— balancing full-time jobs and home learning for their kids, learning new technologies, facing financial and emotional struggles. The district really can’t thank parents enough for all they have done to keep learning alive at home.
“What parents have had to do is just bottomless,” says Sarah Oswick, principal at Whittier Elementary. “When I think about what parents have had to do, with all types of situations, it’s just extraordinary.”
The staff at Whittier Elementary have been so appreciative of the work parents have done, so much so that one teacher had the idea to honor these “Home Learning Heros.” Teachers have been gathering their hero stories and are trying to figure out the best way to recognize them.
“It’s hard to decide what is the best way,” says Oswick. “They’re not looking for any sort of public recognition, so I think a personal note would go a long way. Buying them something just wouldn’t come close to matching what they have done.”
High among the heroes are the older siblings of Whittier students. Many siblings have spent hours helping their younger brothers and sisters set up technology, keep track of their assignments and meetings, and helping them with their work.
When speaking with high school administrators, says Oswsick, many mentioned that older siblings have put aside their own work in order to make sure their younger siblings stay on track. “It is really incredible,” says Oswick.
Oswick also recognized that the economically impacted families at Whittier have been going through a lot during this time, and they still have been super supportive of their student’s learning.
“Some parents had to learn how to use a computer. Others have to go to pick up bags of food at the distribution sites, others are really struggling financially,” says Oswick.
Staff at the school have reached out to families with more needs to support them along the way— walking them through the technology, getting them signed on to the platforms. And once the logistics were set up, the parents made sure they were on all the meetings, often sitting with the kids to listen in or participating in meetings with the kids so they could support them.
The Whittier PTA has also done extraordinary work, raising over $10,000 that was then distributed in the form of grocery gift cards to families identified as needing help.
“The whole school community has really come together to support each other, which is really nice to see,” concludes Oswick.
It is truly amazing to see the whole district community has come together to support students and families throughout this crisis.