The Strength of Families

Oct 2, 2020

An Update from Commissioner Infante-Green

Earlier this week, RIDE hosted two statewide public forums to discuss how back-to-school efforts are proceeding across the state. We checked in with leaders of a handful of school districts and one charter school to hear directly from them on how school is going for their students and staff.

As I listened to these leaders reflect, I thought about all of the families across the state who entrust their children to the men and women who work in our schools. Our families are the bedrock of our entire education system, and they have been an amazing source of strength, encouragement, and accountability through this challenging year.

Last spring, when we made the rapid transition to distance learning, our families were suddenly faced with new responsibilities. Moms became reading coaches. Dads became math tutors. Older siblings became IT support. The list goes on. The simple truth is that we could not have pulled off our statewide shift to distance learning without the full commitment of our families.

This was equally true as we worked over the summer to get our students back to the classroom. It was our families who needed to understand and support the plans developed by each LEA; they were the ultimate arbiters of success, because they were empowered to choose whether their students went back. For some, distance learning still made sense, and for most they gained the confidence they needed to send their kids to school.

As educators, we always exercise a solemn duty to care for and educate our society’s most treasured resource, our students. During this unique time, that duty has taken on a new scale, and our educators are rising to the challenge. With the support of our families, we are making our way through a new school year, prepared to respond to the new challenges that are coming our way, together as one state.