Dear Teaching Channel Community,
All our thoughts are turned towards the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey on affected communities and especially to the students, teachers, friends, colleagues, and partners who have been impacted. We thought it might be helpful to provide ways you can help those in need and a way to share and show how our Teaching Channel community is responding to the crisis.
How Hurricanes Irma and Harvey Are Affecting Education
Six of the largest school districts in the U.S. have closed due to the devastating effects of Irma and Harvey. This means that 1.65 million students -- 3% of all public school students -- are experiencing a significant interruption in their education with only sparse data to predict the long-term impact these storms and their aftermath may have on teaching and learning.
Governor Rick Scott of Florida warned that Irma had the potential to be catastrophic and life-threatening. In the wake of the storm, many schools remain closed and a return to a normal school routine is delayed as districts await safety inspections. Schools throughout the state served as temporary shelters, many with school administrators leading the effort to comfort their communities.
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas called Harvey one of the largest disasters America has ever faced. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators are especially hard hit as they deal with critical back-to-school delays, damage to buildings and other important facilities, and interruptions in basic services.
We’d like to hear from any of you in the affected areas about what’s happening on the ground and how you’re coping. Tragedies of this sort can be used to share and teach important lessons on how we draw together as a society to help one another. We are stronger when we reach out to one another. We are at our very best when we do. Please free to share stories and images by tweeting them to @TeachingChannel. We’ll make sure to retweet to the community.
How You Can Help
If you feel you can, please know that various organizations are asking for donations to support the victims of these large-scale weather events.
Here are education-specific organizations you may want to consider: Feeding Texas and Feeding Florida, networks of the state foodbanks, and more specifically the Houston Food Bank’s Backpack Buddy and Teachers Aid; Feeding Florida’s Backpack Program or Food4Kids; the American Federation of Teachers or the National Education Association, which are accepting donations and providing disaster relief to members; and Donor’s Choose, which has set up Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma Recovery Funds.
For additional options, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Florida and Texas.
From all of us at Teaching Channel, we wish a safe and speedy recovery to all those affected by Irma and Harvey.
George Lichter, CEO