During these challenging times of a pandemic, and with ongoing concerns about racial justice staring us in the face every day, we at PHNEE have been discussing how we can balance remote learning, childcare and our own jobs with our mission of improving equity for all kids. The systemic inequities that have always existed have become more visible in 2020 and we know that our community wants to help. We offer the following ideas and guidelines for action in answer to the question: What can I do to support my child’s education without increasing inequity?
Donate to the One Park Hill Fund – http://donate.dmci.network – choose “PHNEE – One Park Hill Fund” in the dropdown menu. The goal of this fund is to raise money that can be distributed equitably to all of the elementary schools in Park Hill and support shared activities, resources and community building across all schools. During remote learning, donations will help create and sustain supported learning environments for those most in need in our neighborhood. These opportunities will be coordinated through Denver Metro Community Impact (DMCI), formerly Park Hill Collective Impact, and tap into PHNEE’s and DMCI’s existing network of partner organizations.
Volunteer where you are needed most by registering at http://volunteer.dmcimpact.org. DMCI and PHNEE will work to match volunteers with needs. You can indicate your available time, if you’re comfortable in person with PPE, or would prefer all virtual, and list any specific interests you might have.
Create “Techquity” in Park Hill by going to https://phnee.org/creating-techquity-in-park-hill/ to learn how to donate your unwanted devices to PCs for People, a new organization that will wipe all the data and refurbish them for use by children who need them. You can also donate to cover the costs of refurbishing.
Aim to create Equitable Learning Pods. We know that many families are considering or have formed learning “pods” in which several families band together to collectively provide childcare and remote learning support for their children. If you are participating in a pod or thinking of joining one, we offer the following guidelines to help you do so in the most equitable way possible.
- Do not un-enroll your child from your public school. The pandemic is placing enormous pressure on school district budgets and every child who leaves the district takes with them essential dollars that could be used to improve learning for all.
- Do not hire teachers away from DPS to support your pod.
- Make sure your school knows you have formed a pod and which students are participating. This may help teachers with their own planning.
- Do not ask for any special consideration or extra help from your teacher, staff or principal to make your pod work.
- Identify, acknowledge and be responsive to the concerns of all members of the pod regarding health and safety and ensure that all members of the pod have equal decision-making power.
- If possible, provide space in your pod for a diverse group of kids – racially, socio-economically, and in terms of need. This will likely mean reaching outside of your immediate circle of friends, and being willing to include children of parents who may not be able to help in the same way (e.g., essential workers).
- Be responsive to parents’ different needs regarding childcare. Some parents can work at home, others cannot. Configure the responsibilities for childcare in the pod to accommodate these differences.
- If you choose to supplement the education provided by your school, consider focusing that energy on social justice with stories, videos, and discussion groups about race and class and anti-racism, rather than trying to “get ahead” in fundamentals like reading and math
Get involved with PHNEE. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in joining one of our current working groups. The Shared Resources team works on creating shared events between all schools to build community, and the One Park Hill Fund. The Communications team works to build awareness in the community of the challenges facing our schools, and to build the will to address them, by sharing information through social media, the Greater Park Hill News, and other outlets.
Participate in Community Dialogue by registering for the next EdEquity Corner on Sept 9th at 7pm, and invite your friends. https://tinyurl.com/EdEquitySept2020
Thank you for your commitment to our neighborhood, to equity, and to seeing that ALL of our kids can survive and thrive during this challenging time.