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Week 8 Highlights: Our Parents

Like parents across New York City, the country and indeed the world, Partnership Schools’ moms, dads, grandparents and extended families are juggling work and distance learning. Many do so as they continue valiant service as essential workers in some of the hardest-hit areas of the pandemic. Here are just two of many:

We want to take a moment during our eighth week of distance learning to celebrate the inspiring resilience and resourcefulness of our parents. They are working miracles in many ways; here are just a few.

Making Learning Happen:

While parents are literally out of the picture we often see of distance learning–because they are behind the camera, taking pictures of what their children are doing–we get glimpses that make us cheer for all our parents:


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Bria in Prek3 counting the cookie trains, long and short ?

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Bria’s parent doesn’t just creatively implement a component of the week’s math lesson our pre-K teachers have provided; you can hear her hold out for a right answer in a gentle, encouraging way–a rockstar move for any teacher.

Many parents are creating their own ways for young people to learn, whether it’s Princeton’s parents coming up with math games…

…or Amy’s parents reinforcing her spelling skills…


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Check out Amy Guappi from 1-11 practicing her spelling with play doh!

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Parents are always “first teachers” in Catholic thought–and we know these are a tiny fraction of the many creative ways parents are carrying out that expanded role in these weeks of distance learning. Even the glimpses we get of the learning spaces parents are carving out inspire us, because apparently nothing–even the quirks of city living–can stop the learning:


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Benjamin isn’t missing a beat as he tackles week 2 of distance learning. #wearealwayslearning #prek

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Paying It Forward

It is an honor for our network to be able to support parents by forgoing tuition payments and setting up an emergency fund, and we are thrilled that we have been able to support 260 families and counting thanks to the generosity of our donors.

Yet our parents are likewise generous, even in these tough times. Every principal in our network has commented on how parents have pulled together not just to support their own children, but in many cases to support their school communities.

For example, St. Mark principal Dom Fanelli has noted how frequently parents with professional technology backgrounds stepped up in the early days of distance learning to ensure that all families at the school had trouble-free access to the applications and devices that are the keys to learning at home. Without their help, some students would have had days without the crucial routines of learning, and both students’ and teachers’ work would have been harder.

And even when we announced the tuition abatement and emergency fund, we had families who reached out to offer their support–including by taking the money they saved with the tuition abatement to donate to either our COVID relief fund or to support first responders in the broader community.

Making Time for Joy:

In the early weeks of COVID, we got a kick out of this Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary family making the most out of staying at home together:

While in the following weeks surely most families have had their moments when no one much felt like dancing in the hallways, you wouldn’t know it from what our families share. Inspired by a school-wide music project, many St. Athanasius families made their own maracas last week–and then built them into full-fledged routines:

Whether it’s creating turtles out of fruit…

…or an old-fashioned board game…

…parents throughout the Partnership have made true Pope John Paul II’s idea that “We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.”

The truest form of joy for Christians is the recognition of unique gifts all around us, of God’s presence in others. And our parents have certainly inspired both our young people and members of our network team by taking time out of all they are doing to express gratitude to others in adorable ways, like this tea party:

and this mother-son thank-you duo:


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??????Mrs. Camacho??????

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Educating and forming children truly is a partnership. Gospel singer Hezekiah Walker popularized a song that affirms, “I need you, you need me. We’re all a part of God’s body.” Never has that been more true for the educators and parents of the Partnership; and the opportunity to encourage and be encouraged by our parents has been one of the most significant graces of the last two months.