From Tracy L. Goodman, Healthy Together Director <[email protected]>
Subject Creative Solutions to Keep Children Learning
Date April 24, 2020 2:38 PM
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The moment DC's schools moved to remote learning, our lawyers started compiling
all the questions we knew we needed to ask the children and families we serve:

1. Do you have enough computers or tablets for all those who need one in your home?
2. Do you have internet access with a strong enough data plan to handle all the
extra time your children will be spending online?
3. Has the school shared a distance learning plan for each of your children?
4. What special education instruction will they continue receiving?
We immediately reached out by phone, email, text and FaceTime calls to every client.
Here's what we heard and how we responded.

A 17-year-old foster youth was home on spring break when her college shifted to
remote learning for the remainder of the year. She did not have enough money to
retrieve her computer -- and couldn't participate in online classes without it.
Her Children's Law Center lawyer successfully advocated for DC's Child and Family
Services Agency to cover the costs for her to return to school to pick up her clothes,
books and computer.

One mom was unable to pick up critical education packets for her 7-year-old son.
He was too young to leave at home, but she knew his asthma put him at heightened
risk if he was exposed to COVID-19.

"Not a problem," said her Children's Law Center lawyer. "We'll get the materials
from his school and mail them to you."

Another mom let us know that her second-grade daughter received school lessons that
were not tailored to meet her special education needs. We knew right away the girl
would get frustrated and fall further behind. Our lawyer reached out to the school's
special education coordinator to line up remote speech and language therapy and
track down a learning packet that was more in line with her abilities.

The list goes on.
For every challenge, our tenacious and creative team of lawyers, investigators,
family outreach and social workers have tracked down answers, gathered materials
and solved problems with each family.
A month from now, DC Public Schools will wrap up the school year -- a full three
weeks earlier than scheduled. Many of DC's charter schools may do the same. Meanwhile,
some of the students we work with are just this week receiving computers to use
for their remote learning.
There is no question this pandemic is putting more than 13,000 special education
students at risk of falling further behind. We are already advocating with schools
to provide compensatory education to help students catch up. And we will work with
the Mayor and the DC Council to protect critical funds in next year's school budget
to make sure that schools and families are ready if there is a need for remote learning
again this fall.
One thing is certain. The calls to Children's Law Center will increase as more students
need help. [[link removed]]
That is why we are working to get families the answers and resources they need to
keep their child's education on the right path.
On behalf of the students we work with -- thank you, as always, for your support.
Tracy L. Goodman
Director, Healthy Together

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Children's Law Center | 501 3rd Street NW, 8th Floor | Washington | DC | 20001
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