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“Nationals October 2019

LETTER: An open letter to Board of Education and Dr. Arlotto

| June 11, 2020, 10:43 AM

Rams Head

Dear Superintendent Arlotto, Members of the Board of Education, and others,

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, children from families with economic disadvantages have lacked the resources needed to participate in online learning with Anne Arundel County Public Schools. As stated in the Capital Newspaper “The absence of about 3,500 students from online learning offered by Anne Arundel County schools is nothing short of a catastrophe.” The PTA boards of the schools listed below are asking that you take immediate action to ELEVATE ALL STUDENTS AND ELIMINATE ALL GAPS.

The following must happen immediately to begin the path to full participation for all students:

  1. Chromebooks should be provided for EVERY student. A separate chromebook for each child is required to excel and fully participate.
  2. WiFi is essential for online learning and should be provided IMMEDIATELY to every family that has a need to be connected. Students should not be expected to leave their place of residence to get WiFi to participate in school, especially when a stay safe at home recommendation remains in place. Students cannot participate in online learning without access to adequate WiFi in their homes.
  3. The Anne Arundel County Public School Administration must take responsibility to find and include the “absent” students in the same way that they would work to engage with absent students without a pandemic. WiFi and access to technology must be a part of that engagement.
  4. The sudden and dramatic shift to exclusively online learning requires more parent/guardian participation than the classroom environment at school. Students with ESOL caregivers must be provided with translators and translated materials to provide these students with the same level of education that English speaking students are able to receive in this new learning environment.
  5. The responsibility for providing an equitable online learning education lies with the Anne Arundel County Public School Administration NOT with the individual teachers and school administrative staff.  Many of our teachers and school staff have been working tirelessly to help students gain access to technology and WiFi and have tried working creative solutions.  Cellular phones and handheld devices do not allow for full participation in online learning and it should not be the individual school or teacher’s responsibility to solve the problem of the technology gap.  This is a problem of a larger scope than individual schools and classrooms and we are asking that the above actions items be addressed by the Anne Arundel County Public School Administration at once.

As members of the PTA at the schools listed below, we are asking for your support in this petition.  This widening achievement gap will affect all of our students when we return to school and will have long lasting consequences for families in Anne Arundel County if the above objectives are not met. We have done our best to make our voices heard and have received little cooperation from the Anne Arundel County Public School Administration.  We are asking for you to take action that should have been taken from the beginning to ELEVATE ALL STUDENTS AND ELIMINATE ALL GAPS.

Sincerely,

Eastport Elementary School PTA

Hillsmere Elementary School PTA

Annapolis Elementary School PTA

Annapolis Middle School PTSA

Rams Head

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