The ECLC Team
Last week, ECLC was profiled in The Gloucester Times by guest columnists Stratton Lloyd and Michelle Xiarhos Curran as an effective approach for addressing the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic upon learning in Essex County. Check out an excerpt here:
For both youth and adult learners, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into a system already burdened by deeply rooted challenges and inequities. The virus didn’t just blow through, damaging the walls of a structure that could easily be rebuilt. Rather, it stormed in like a tornado and exposed the faulty lines of our educational foundation. The pivot to virtual learning has exposed a deep digital divide between those with and without access. Educators, already tapped before the pandemic, are burning out trying to meet the evolving needs of their students while caring for their own health and families. There is the annual “summer slide,” which disproportionately affects economically disadvantaged and minority students. And now there’s “COVID slide,” which some experts predict will be defined by as much as six to 12 months of learning loss, and the “COVID career slide,” which hinders adult learners from pursuing advanced education – and, subsequently, higher wage jobs – because of heightened anxieties about cost.
The good news is that pre-pandemic systems work to start dismantling foundational challenges and inequities across Essex County – work proudly supported by ECCF – continues today. And at its core, this work aims to solve our region’s most pressing issues at their roots, which COVID has so starkly reminded us is crucial if our systems are to be resilient in the future.
Strengthening K-12 by creating a network of support.
When COVID-19 forced the physical closure of public schools, 11 of Essex County’s districts – serving more than 35,000 students – had immediate access to critical resources as members of the first two cohorts of the Essex County Learning Community (ECLC), an intensive, two-year professional development experience funded in large part by the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. It is aimed at helping local educators better meet the diverse needs of students with learning disabilities, learning and attention issues and exposure to trauma – as well as those who experience systemic bias related to race, ethnicity, language, income and gender.
In the midst of a global pandemic, this work has become more important than ever before. “Our mission has met its moment,” said Jane Feinberg, director of the ECLC.
You can read the full article here, and please share widely with your networks!