Local School Staff Goes the Extra Mile to Support Students
When Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) went to distance learning on March 16th due to the Covid crisis, the sudden closure meant massive disruption for many families who rely on the district to provide two meals a day for their children. The district enrolls around 150,000 students, and 40% of them qualify for free or subsidized meals from CMS.
“While schools are closed, we feel very strongly that students have their most basic needs met, and meals is one of those things,” he said. “It’s simply because it’s the right thing to do.” CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston said
The teachers and staff at individual schools in the district are working diligently to meet the basic needs of their respective students. At Endhaven Elementary in south Charlotte, for example, teachers are asked to call and contact students to support not just their technical needs of distance learning but their emotional and physical ones as well. Because of this, administrators are alerted to families who need additional help.
Endhaven Principal Brian Slattery and Counselor Erika Clarke have gathered supplies and donations from local families and Endhaven PTA to provide gift cards and non-perishable food to students and their families. Some Endhaven families do not have the ability to drive to one of the 70 pick-up locations in the county, where families with a student present can pick up a lunch for that day and breakfast for the next day. Moreover, some families have language barriers for understanding the services available to them. While dropping off supplies, Slattery and Clarke encourage kids (from 6 ft away) to keep up with their school work, contact their teachers, and know they are not forgotten or alone in this time of isolation.
As to how she is trying to give herself and her students hope, in the middle of it all, this is what Erika Clarke tells us:
This pandemic is new for students, teachers, and parents alike. However, I try to keep some sense of normalcy by face timing my students, doing zoom lunch meetings, and just checking in to let them know that they are missed, and that they can reach out to me at anytime. I do miss seeing their smiling faces every day.
If you want to help students at Endhaven Elementary, please contact email@example.com. Or contact the principal in your local elementary school to see how you can help kids in your area.
***coronaHOPE is a new digital series from Levine Museum of the New South that is highlighting stories of hope and resiliency within our community during these unprecedented times. While we all are doing everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19, many community members are also caring for one another in small and big ways. Please share your stories of people bringing HOPE to their communities with us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org