Highlights of our discussion with special guest, Sarah Clark.
My name is Sarah Clark and I’m a Savannah transplant with SoCal roots (by way of Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia in between!). I've got over a decade of family engagement, volunteer facilitation, and community involvement experience. I've trained for the United States Navy as an Ombudsman and Certified Ombudsman Trainer, but also worked heavily with family and community engagement efforts in Virginia and Georgia public schools as a volunteer. I now serve as the Family Engagement Facilitator for Pooler Elementary School.
How did your role as parent facilitator change? As remote learning became more prevalent, what sort of recommendations or conversations were shared with your parent community?
Availability to parents/families increased on social media platforms
Close partnership with PTA and media specialist
“Providing students with choices of interesting activities helps them take
Do you see the resources you mentioned being utilized in the next school year even when students are back in the classroom?
Yes, these resources can continue to provide opportunities for enrichment and engagement and finding the balance between learning and fun will help increase student interest.
“Learning happens everywhere."
Share some of the top needs of the families in your school community. How were those needs addressed?
Biggest concern digital devices and digital divide
Other needs that were addressed included:
We are familiar with the teacher perspective of remote learning, what were your experiences as a working parent of school-aged children? (Routines,Struggles, Successes, Ah- ha moments, Social/emotional support)
Being real with the families
Make sure you take care of the social emotional support for children - the learning is going to happen.
“Be there as a parent, caregiver, and give yourself some grace.”
Figure out a schedule that works for your family, every family is different, don't compare yourself to other families and schools.
SCCPSS really supported families and classrooms with the Comcast channel, devices, lunches, printed packets for families without tech.
Being away from school for an entire quarter is something most kids have not experienced. Would you mind sharing some comments from your children? What did they miss? What did they enjoy?
8th Grader - Reality check - school was closed - but they still had to do work and check in with teachers. The oldest handled everything well, until he didn’t. As a child with high-functioning autism, things that don’t make sense in literal terms are hard for him, so he finally had that moment of realization where he wouldn’t get to end his time at STEM with all his friends, or the way that they’d planned. That was really, really hard, but we got through it and he made it happen.
Middle child - independent, completed work, met all requirements. Missed out on social opportunities, rides to school, special days at school and traditions. While academically he was fine, the social-emotional piece was missing, as were the daily interactions with his group of friends and the routine he’d just started to develop during the transition to middle school.
5YO - not understanding: Masks, restaurants, shared toys, missing out on friends and experiences being a first-year student and their initial classroom experience.
Missing out on bridging, sports, socializing, and all the things that we sometimes do take for granted, without even realizing it.
Struggling with disappointment, realizing that school was actually missed!
Try to “See things through the eyes of a child - meet their social-emotional needs first.”
Of course, parents, teachers, and students are wondering about what school will look like in the fall - assuming we experience remote learning in some way - Let's end our conversation today with your top three remote learning tips for parents.