Mental Health from the Perspective of BIPOC Student Activists

By The Root of Our Youth Tara Duong, Diya Kumar, Diya Anoop, Phia Endicott, Marlo Duong, Malavika Santhosh, Zana Stewart, and Molly Reagan
Guest Bloggers

 

Clockwise from top left: Tara Duong, Diya Kumar, Diya Anoop, Molly Reagan, Zana Stewart, Malavika Santhosh, Marlo Duong, and Phia Endicott

Without tangible mental health support, students—especially BIPOC—have been left to fend for ourselves throughout remote learning. In an attempt to remedy the emotional damage caused by the abrupt closing of schools, the recent switch to hybrid learning has ironically been handled in the same haphazard manner, with the causes of these mental complications remaining unaddressed.

Our education system teaches students that academic success holds greater value than our health. We’re in a position where we must suppress our mental and emotional needs to survive. When the pandemic hit, we suddenly had the time and space to express ourselves freely, leading us to recognize the severity of our struggles and the damages imposed by the education system.

While the school environment has its faults, isolation has made the management of mental health and academic success increasingly difficult. Numerous elements of in-person school cannot be recreated online, such as connecting and collaborating with peers, and effective communication with teachers. There is little to no opportunity for teamwork, a skill we’ve been conditioned to depend on since primary school. We were taken out of an environment rich in support and dropped into seclusion. Read More

Recap: Washington state Teachers of the Year on Reimagining Education after COVID

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

 

As we enter the final quarter of this historic and challenging school year, students, families, and educators across Washington are navigating remote, hybrid, and modified in-person learning environments. But what should education look like when all schools reopen?

In this webinar, Washington state Teachers of the Year Brooke Brown (2021), Amy Campbell (2020), Robert Hand (2019), Mandy Manning (2018, and the 2018 National Teacher of the Year), Camille Jones (2017), Nate Bowling (2016), and Lyon Terry (2015) shared what they are hearing from students, families, and colleagues in their community on how the 2020-21 school year is going, how they recommend reimagining education based on what they have learned from teaching during the COVID pandemic, and answered your questions.
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Washington Game Changers Podcast – Estela Ortega of El Centro de la Raza

Washington Game Changers with Lauri Hennessey features leaders who give back to our community, drive innovative solutions, and inspire others in making our state more equitable and just. This podcast is a one-on-one conversation with these powerful leaders in a time when we need to hear about more good in the world.

In this episode, Lauri talks to Estela Ortega, the longtime Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza, a backbone of the community in Seattle. Estela talks about how she has stayed centered during the pandemic, how her organization has fared during this time and about her late husband Roberto Maestas, and their early work in creating El Centro. She also talks about the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on students of color.

El Centro de la Raza is located in the old Beacon Hill School in Seattle, creating a gathering place for Beloved Community. Read more about El Centro’s historic journey.

Listen:

Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker.

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Recap: WA state Superintendent Chris Reykdal on State Assessments during the 2020-21 School Year

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

 

In this webinar, Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal outlined what he knows about this historic and challenging year’s requirements for state testing and answered your questions.

This LEVinar was meant to be a forum and opportunity for discussion, questions, and understanding about an issue that will affect many families this spring. Our goal is to support families in better understanding what to expect regarding statewide assessments.

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Recap: Washington state Principals on Education in the Time of COVID

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

Students at Summit Atlas Public School

In this webinar, we partnered with the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) to assemble a panel of principals from across Washington state to discuss how the 2020-21 school year is going, how they would reimagine education based on what they have learned from this unprecedented school year, and how principals can be better supported at the state and district levels. They also answered your questions. 

Panelists included:

  • Jason Smith, Rogers High School, Puyallup School District
  • Tricia Kannberg, Regal Elementary School, Spokane Public Schools
  • Carlos Gonzalez, McFarland Middle School, Othello School District
  • Nathan Plummer, Sultan Middle School, Sultan School District
  • Cindy Cromwell, Kelso Virtual Academy, Kelso School District
  • John Belcher, Mount Si High School, Snoqualmie School District
  • Justin Hendrickson, South Shore PreK-8, Seattle Public Schools

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Recap: Why Every Family Deserves a Fair Start

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

 

Representative Tana Senn (left) and Senator Claire Wilson (right)

In this webinar, Washington state Representative Tana Senn and Senator Claire Wilson, prime sponsors of the Fair Start for Kids Act (House Bill 1213 and Senate Bill 5237), explain how their omnibus legislation takes strong steps to address child care and early learning affordability, access, and the economic crisis. They also answered questions from the audience.

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Washington Game Changers Podcast – Marty Hartman of Mary’s Place

Washington Game Changers with Lauri Hennessey features leaders who give back to our community, drive innovative solutions, and inspire others in making our state more equitable and just. This podcast is a one-on-one conversation with these powerful leaders in a time when we need to hear about more good in the world.

In this episode, Lauri talks to Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary’s Place, an organization founded on the principle that no one’s child should sleep outside. Mary’s Place provides safe, inclusive shelter and services that support women, children, and families on their journey out of homelessness.

Marty Hartman talks about homelessness in Seattle, the impact of COVID-19 on families living in homelessness, and what you may not know about families who experience homelessness. Marty also shares inspirational stories about families doing their best with their kids during this tough time of socially-distanced learning and living through the pandemic.

Listen:

Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker.

Watch:

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Recap: A Listening Session with Voices from the Latino Community Part 2

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

 

Dr. Susana Reyes (left), Dr. Nydia A. Martinez (middle), Tanya Medina (right)

In this webinar, we assembled another statewide panel of Latino thought leaders, community leaders, and educators to share their perspectives on what is working, and not working, in their communities and what state legislators can do to better support Latino students. Panelists included Dr. Susana Reyes, Assistant Superintendent of Operations for the Pasco School District and Member of the Washington State Board of Education; Dr. Nydia A. Martinez, Director of the Chicana/o/x Studies Program, Academic Director of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), and Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Washington University (EWU); and Tanya Medina, Alianza Youth Leadership Co-Manager with the Latino Community Fund.

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Childcare Essential for Economic Recovery and on the Brink of Disaster

By Susan Brown, President and CEO of Kids Co.
Guest Blogger

 

Susan Brown, President and CEO of Kids Co.

There is no doubt amongst business leaders, elected officials, employers, and employees that without childcare, economic recovery will be virtually impossible. The harsh reality is that if childcare centers don’t get financial relief soon, families will have even fewer options for care when they feel it is safe to send their children again. The number of families who need care now is not enough to sustain childcare. And the child care businesses who do have savings to draw upon to stay open in the short term may still close as the pandemic continues.

Childcare businesses are struggling to stay open. The cost of care is higher than most working families can afford so childcare businesses are subsidizing that care at substantial losses. In March 2020 Kids Co. was providing care to 889 kids. As of today, there are 63 kids enrolled. Kids Co. is experiencing a nearly 100% decrease in enrollment. Kids Co. is not alone. Dozens of programs in Seattle are experiencing drastically low enrollment. Read More

Podcast – The 2021 Washington state Teachers of the Year

From Top Left: Brooke Brown, Ben Ballew, Megan Anderson Reilly, Devin Bauer, Chenoa Meagher, David Buitenveld, Erin Lark, Jackie Hentges, David Tracewell

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks the 2021 Washington state Teachers of the Year about their teaching philosophy, their greatest accomplishment in the classroom, how they would make teaching better in Washington state, what advice they would give a new teacher, what motivation they still carry with them from their first day in the classroom, how the COVID pandemic has impacted their work, what school districts can do to better support teachers, and what advice they would give to parents and educators during this time. We were honored to interview:

Brooke Brown, 2021 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Regional Teacher of the Year from Puget Sound Educational Service District 121, who teaches English and Ethnic Studies at Washington High School in the Franklin Pierce School District

Ben Ballew, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Northwest Educational Service District 189, who teaches English at Arlington High School in the Arlington School District

Megan Anderson Reilly, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 105, who teaches Spanish at AC Davis High School in the Yakima School District

Devin Bauer, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Northeast Educational Service District 101, who is a Special Education Department Head and Learning Center teacher at Lakeside High School in the Nine Mile Falls School District

Chenoa Meagher, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 123, who teaches kindergarten at Sagecrest Elementary School in the Kennewick School District

David Buitenveld, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Capital Region Educational Service District 113, who teaches mathematics and is a remote learning coach at Nisqually Middle School in the North Thurston School District

Erin Lark, 2021 Regional teacher of the Year from Educational Service District 112, who science and STEM at iTech Preparatory School in the Vancouver School District

Jackie Hentges, 2021 Regional teacher of the Year from North Central Educational Service District 171, who teaches science at Brewster Middle School in the Brewster School District

David Tracewell, 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year from Olympic Region Educational Service District 114, who teaches English and Media Communications at Klahowya Secondary School in the Central Kitsap School District

 

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