School closings are difficult for communities, families and educators. Nationwide, we have seen major cities, rural counties and towns make the decision to close schools. One challenge that seems to be consistent in this situation is that stakeholders, educators and elected leaders are not on the same page.
When the decision to close schools are on the table, we have to ask:
- How will the school closing affect the families and community involved?
- How will families and communities be actively and effectively involved in the process?
- How will students get to and from the new school location?
- What are innovative ways to utilize the school after it has been closed for instruction?
- Is the school a historic site and if co, how can it continue to be?
Even after a school closes and students are zoned to neighboring schools, there are still measures that must be put in place. In addition to children having to adjust to change, communities and families that may not have engaged prior to the closing now have to interact. It’s a change of lifestyle that just doesn’t take place in a few weeks or months.
Here are some tips for families and communities on school closures:
- Be involved in the school outside of emergency meeting i.e. volunteering, speaking with administrations and faculty, support other parents, hold all leaders accountable for student success.
- Have a 1-3 year transition in place with ongoing support for children, adults and communities.
- Completed an assessment for wrap around services (learning and socioemotional support) needed for current and future families.