These are unprecedented times for our city and our world. Social distancing has resulted in curfews, business restrictions, and school cancellations–all steps that will test us. Beyond initial concerns for the well-being of our families and our own sanity, we are most concerned for the students, families, and educators now thrown into tumult by the, at minimum, month-long suspension of school. Such closure will undoubtedly create gaps in the learning experiences of our most vulnerable students and strain the ability of schools to meet the needs of students and staff. We are standing with our schools and our community to ensure families have the latest information. We are committed to our role as an invested community partner at this unprecedented moment. In response to the global pandemic and evolving needs of our community, we at New Schools for Baton Rouge (NSBR) are taking the following steps.
First, last week we focused our community engagement and social media efforts on serving as a conduit of information for our stakeholders and families during this difficult time. We are sharing resources for families and important information as developments occur, including identifying high quality tools for providing academic support and resources, sharing important updates from government officials on the rapidly evolving guidelines, and serving as a connector between volunteers and partners in need. We will continue to be thoughtful about how we distribute information addressing the immediate concerns of families and educators. See below for a collection of important resources, including our new map of sites providing free meals for students. We invite you to follow NSBR on Facebook for frequently updated content and information from around the community.
Second, as a community partner focused on the impact and transformative power of great schools, we can play a positive role in delivering resources to schools during this time. Specifically, as it relates to our role with school partners, we are focused on being responsive rather than reactionary. This means that while schools are rightfully focused on immediate student and staff needs, we at NSBR can begin to forecast long-term challenges and opportunities to help support schools in the months to come. We are also evaluating how to fill short-term gaps through an emergency response grant fund, details for which will be released this week.
Finally, NSBR is uniquely positioned to address what is ahead for our community because of the entrepreneurial nature of our organization and our role as an ecosystem problem solver. We will continue to serve as a convener and look to address system-level problems as they surface. Adaptability is in the DNA of our organization, and this moment provides us with opportunities to lean into the change and emerge as a more united and capable education ecosystem. The current challenges facing our community will make us stronger. Our focus will remain on ensuring students have access to great schools so that their life opportunities and the dreams of their families can be fulfilled.
Wash your hands and stay well,
Chris Meyer, CEO