CAMDEN, NJ — Many parents in Camden have found themselves in the position of educators due to the COVID-19 pandemic — balancing not only their own work but assisting children with virtual homework assignments and class projects.

Heading into the summer many, including Superintendent of the Camden City School District (CCSD), Katrina McCombs, have acknowledged that an “academic slide” caused home instruction is to be expected.

On Saturday, community non-profit organizations Parents for Great Camden Schools (PGCS) and TeenSHARP will host an online symposium via Zoom — aiming to convene with parents over ways they could help buffer the learning loss caused by a lack of in-person instruction. 

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“Our parents have been under so much stress as a result of COVID-19. I speak to parents every day; they are worried about job loss, health, their children’s education,” said Deborah Yanez, who manages parent programming for TeenSHARP and will co-lead the event. “Since the beginning of sheltering in place, our goal at TeenSHARP has been to build a virtual community to support parents, and empower them with knowledge and resources to weather this storm.”

“This symposium is an opportunity to do just that for so many parents in the City of Camden and beyond,'' she added.

Curtis Valentine, a father of two and a director with the Progressive Policy Institute's Reinventing America's Schools Project, will kick off the symposium, which organizers say over 100 parents have so far signed up to attend.

“Now, more than ever, it is imperative we offer parents a platform to come together to share resources and discuss issues and concerns regarding our children’s education,” said Shirley Irizarry, community outreach director of PGCS.

The virtual event, which begins at 9:30 a.m., will cover strategies to accelerate children’s proficiency, how to approach education accountability amid COVID-19, how to practice self-care, and advocacy for children’s special needs. 

Workshops will include:

● What can we learn from homeschooling parents during this time of remote learning? (with Erica Dorsett, TeenSHARP parent)

● Special Education and 504 Services: Now What? (with Maria Hernandez, VELA)

● Cuidándose: 3 Estrategias para Aumentar Su Bienestar Maestra de Lectura (with Nadine Rueb, VELA)

● Sharing the responsibility of educating our children during COVID-19 (with Bryan Morton, Parents for Great Camden Schools)

To register click here.

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