State education officials host virtual support circle for parents facing distance learning challenges

California Connection

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — On Wednesday, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a virtual parent support circle to help families navigate their distance learning challenges.

Moana Cables and millions of other parents with children in the California public school system are learning how to really do it all.

Cables is a mom, a working professional who is thankful to still be employed and now a teacher to her daughter in the era of distance learning.

“As a parent, it’s frustrating. These times are hard for all of us,” Cables told FOX40. “I’m juggling various roles, even more so than usual. I’m not only a parent, I’m a cook, I’m a resource specialist but I’m also now a student where I’m having to go back and learn these things just so that I can be a good support for my daughter.”

Wearing different hats has proved challenging for many parents.

“We never planned on having school in the home,” said parent Lucretia Pruitt.

“I don’t know how to do fractions. It’s been really difficult,” said parent Jill Jacopetti.

“We’re essentially co-teachers with our grade-level teachers but we haven’t really been involved in the planning or what tools are the best to use. It’s been more of a top-down management philosophy so that’s been tricky to figure out,” said parent Denny Rosatti.

The California Department of Education hosted a virtual support circle to help parents cope in the age of COVID-19.

“We want you to know that what you are doing is incredible,” said Thurmond.

Thurmond applauded moms and dads across the state for becoming part-time educators until physical classes are safe to resume

Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated Tuesday physical classes could be open as early as July or August but Thurmond told parents Wednesday no date has been officially set. 

“Right now, we don’t know exactly when school can start and we will not ask for schools to start until it is safe for everyone to be able to come back to our campuses,” said Thurmond.

He added the decision will ultimately be made by local school districts who will stand ready to make student safety a priority by incorporating social distancing rules and sanitizing standards into the classroom.

Until that day comes parents are soaking up the extra time together connecting in ways they never have before. 

 “It’s really caused us to slow down a little bit and put things on pause and really enjoy each other,” said Jacopetti.

 “We’re eating every meal together which has been really awesome. It’s been a silver lining in this whole thing,” said Rosatti.

Educators reminded families that they’re all learning how to navigate these unchartered waters and parents, like Cables, are not alone in their struggle. 

“We’re just trying to do our best in a time that is so uncertain,” said Cables.

Thurmond says Wednesday’s support circle is the first of many to come.

The superintendent also announced today that he’s formed a new committee to examine how COVID-19 has affected student learning and how the lessons can lead to new innovations.

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