State Superintendent Tony Thurmond hosted the first online event for the new Virtual Parent Support Circle yesterday in the form of a panel discussion with California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris and partners from the California State PTA and the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE).
The panel highlighted the diverse challenges our parents are encountering. According to Thurmond, the Virtual Parent Support Circle seeks to reach out and hear directly from parents across California and encourage them to do their best while sharing resources and supports as they cope with distance learning and economic challenges.
“Through this virtual support group, I felt compelled to provide a space to let California parents know they are not alone as this pandemic affects parents differently,” Thurmond said. “Some parents work and don’t have access to reliable child care, or there may be technology limitations and language barriers to consider. Other parents are also teachers, who have poured their hearts into supporting both their own children and their students. As a father of two daughters in public schools, I am committed to ensuring resources—and, yes, emotional support—are reaching parents as they deal with so much uncertainty. The California Department of Education is committed to providing clarity during this unprecedented time.”
Yesterday’s event featured video testimony from parents across the state about their respective challenges and an overview of academic, bilingual, and mental health resources. Dr. Burke Harris spoke about dealing with stress and the importance of daily exercise, and encouraged parents to take care of themselves and reach out to others for support.
This was the first of many events planned for the Virtual Parent Support Circle series. It can be watched via Facebook Live on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page. The PowerPoint utilized during yesterday’s presentation with information on parent resources will be published on the CDE web page in the next few days and then shared on the CDE’s social media. Comments from parents and educators are welcomed at COVID19@cde.ca.gov.