On Monday Parents Invincible, a new non-profit headed by longtime Camden activist Shirley Irizarry, sent a questionnaire to all Camden schools seeking information on how schools will address learning loss and meet the needs of students this fall. The survey questions were drafted based on questions and input from parents and community members. Parents Invincible will use the results of the survey to build a toolkit for parents so they can be up to date on the city’s return to school this fall.
Camden’s public schools spent much of the year remote, with schools introducing some in-person learning between February and May of this year. District high school students did not return in-person at all.
To address the impact of Covid-19 on schools, New Jersey has received nearly $4 billion in federal funds from the Cares Act and the American Rescue Plan. The vast majority of these funds will flow to districts.
“As schools receive millions of dollars to support Camden students, we want to make sure parents are fully aware of how schools are spending these resources. After this tough year, we want to ensure all of our students return to schools strong in the fall. For this to happen, we need to ensure parents have a clear understanding of what to expect, and proactively address some of the issues and concerns they have raised with us. The line of communication starts with parents. We hope all schools participate in being transparent and timely in their responses,” said Irizarry.
The survey was sent out to all public schools, including district, charter, and renaissance schools. Parents Invincible’s toolkit will provide another opportunity for schools to reach families across the city.
“With the influx of federal dollars, we have been hard at work planning for the fall. We are committed to being transparent with our families on how we will use these dollars to meet the needs of students, and we welcome Parents Invincible’s advocacy and support in getting this important information out to families,” said Constance F. Horton, Executive Director of Freedom Prep Charter School.
On Tuesday the New Jersey Department of Education released its much anticipated pandemic guidance for schools. The state is removing most mandates and pushing decision-making authority to the local districts.
“The state’s guidance allows us flexibility to ensure the health and safety of our families while ensuring that we provide in-person instruction and meaningful remediation to address learning loss. We care deeply about ensuring our families are well informed, and we depend on partners like Parents Invincible to hold us accountable to always living up to that value,” said Clayton Gonzalez, member of the Camden City Board of Education.