Letters to the Editor

Time to nurture connections

Right now, thanks to COVID-19, parents are the “homeroom” teacher. Teachers must rely on parents to keep students on track. Parents must depend on teachers for daily assignments that are easy to follow. Students are counting on them both.

What does this mean for parents? This means now, more than ever, parents have the greatest influence on their child’s education.

Sound overwhelming? It may be for some parents. The real question is, how will they handle it?

Let’s be honest. This is new to most of us. Most parents never dreamed of homeschooling. Parents must embrace this opportunity for what it is. Don’t avoid talking about what’s going on. Don’t push things aside.

Connect with your children. Read with your children. Guide them through their lessons. Review their work and comment on their progress. Participate in the virtual spirit week activities together.

Don’t get angry and blame teachers if things aren’t going well. Your teachers are working hard. Spring Break became a lightning planning session, with the added worry of being evaluated on how they handled this.

Teachers don’t expect you to know everything. They expect you to support your child. They want you to reach out when there’s a question you can’t answer. They will respond as soon as possible. They do care about how your child is doing.

Now, more than ever, we must depend on each other. Let’s build stronger parent-teacher bonds. Parents, you are the co-teachers. Work through this experience together. Talk to your child’s teacher every day, even if only by email or text.

Remember, no one expected this. Teachers had no idea the school year would end like this. This is uncharted territory for all of us. We’re in this together, let’s make the most of it.

Our world has become so busy that we have forgotten what really matters. Take time to appreciate and love your children. Listen to them. Talk to them. Play with them. Teach them about what really matters: compassion, empathy, acceptance, caring for one another. There’s plenty of time next year for textbook learning.

We must use this time wisely. If we as teachers and parents don’t take this time to connect, level-set and unify, we’re missing the point. We are all in this together. We are suddenly separated, but still connected by circumstance and the internet. It’s the gift of an opportunity we should capitalize on.

Jen Murrihy, Memphis

Funding will address problem

At a Professional Learning Community conference last summer, a presenter shared a story about being a member of the Coast Guard and having to rescue a boater who had gone out on the ocean despite the forecast of storms. As a member of the Coast Guard, he had to rescue the man, actually risking his own life to do so, even though the man should have known better than to go out in the first place. The theme to the presentation was “It isn’t our fault, but it is our problem.”

In a Professional Learning Community, we ask “What do we do when students are not learning?” The reason students are not learning may not be our fault, but it is our problem. It is likely that the reason they are not learning is not THEIR “fault,” either. It is our responsibility to do all that we can to help solve the problem. If they need Special Education resources, we must provide them (and the government provides funding to do so). If they need medical assistance, our school nurses help to provide that. If they need tutoring, our teachers provide that. Sometimes, what the student needs cannot be provided by a teacher, school nurse, or other staff member.

This is why we need funding from the school safety referendum. Some of the barriers to learning that our students are experiencing can be met by mental health therapists, behaviorists, or by increasing their feelings of security with safer building structures.

I have seen the difference these resources can make on students and parents who are dealing with things that are not the “fault” of the school, but are our “problem.” The amazing therapist that has been supporting students and families at NAHS has witnessed improved grades, improved attendance, reduced violent behavior, decreased anger, and reduced drug use from the students participating in school-based therapy.

The NAFCS Corporation provides top-notch curriculum, supports, and resources. We should not be forced to remove funding from those areas to fund these additional student needs. If a relatively small increase in taxes can change the trajectory of a child’s entire life, increasing his or her learning, health, and happiness so they will strive both in and out of school, I am happy to be a part of solving the problem, even if it is not my fault.

Vote yes, and significantly impact students and our community.

Michelle Ginkins, Sellersburg

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