Episode 7: Back to School Series – Interview with Gretchen Miller

In today’s episode, Alegria interviews Gretchen Miller, a School Board Member and Parent in a small elementary school district in Humboldt County, Northern CA. They discuss the difficult decision-making process board members underwent in determining this fall’s covid-safe model for academics — distance learning. And they get into the hurdles, challenges and inequities associated with this model in a rural setting where internet access is an issue for many families. They highlight some of the real-world skills students are gaining with the innovation required to get us through this pandemic as well as strategies and rituals families are implementing to engage students socially.

For reference, this episode was recorded the first week of September when many Northern California schools began. It’s been about a month and Alegria followed up with Gretchen to find out what’s changed as school has gotten underway. Her district has decided to continue the distance learning model through the end of the 2020 school semester. Some families continue to experience difficulties accessing the internet due to their rural, outlying residences, which remains a pain point in the inequities of the distance-learning model in the region. Many parents are eager for their students to return to in-classroom instruction, and the district is considering best and safe practices for implementation of classroom instruction, though this decision is yet to be determined. In regards to students with IEP’s or that require special learning accommodations, the district is working towards opening their campuses to these students, if even on a 1:1 basis; however they’ve not yet implemented this model. 

If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to share with other women in your circle.