BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Buffalo Public Schools began distribution of lesson plans and meals for city school children Tuesday.
Family members and students waited outside Futures Academy on Carlton Street to pick up lesson packets and meals. It is one of the city’s community schools.
The school and district were following social distancing and not allowing everyone in at the same time.
“Keeping lines short. Making it easy for our families to get what they need for the next few weeks,” explained Serena Restive, principal, Futures Academy.
Restivo says her teachers worked all day Monday to create learning packets for 600 students in pre-k-through 8th grade.
“I have not had one teacher absence in the last two days because they are their here. They’re here for our students. We’re a family here and we’re just here, coming together to make sure our kids get what they need,” Restivo said.
Teachers will remain accessible and the school has several on-line learning platforms school families already use.
“We have our mandate for a mighty long way and along with having a mighty long way we have materials and we notes from me,” noted Kristine Douglas, second English teacher.
Douglas, wearing a face mask and gloves, showed us packets for 7th and 8th graders. Her lessons contain multiple reading materials, extended learning, worksheets and on-line information.
“How confident are you that this will be followed through at home?” Buckley asked. Oh most definitely. I’m a 100-percent confident. I have great students and great parents and that’s why I look like this today,” described Douglas. “A lot of my students have older parents and grandparents that they go home too and those grandparents are all very supportive to make sure the kids are doing their nightly home work."
Douglas and other teachers will be available on cell phones and email to help students and families.
“What is this like for you as a parent going through this right now, as a parent?” Buckley questioned, as a woman left the school building with a packet.
“It’s kind of crazy, having kids at home,” responded Kaatia McCalla. She was picking up a packet of material for her 8th grade child. “They don’t want to be at home they want to know when they can go out and I’m like — until they tell us different, the government tells us different, we’re in the house.”
98-percent of Futures students receive free or reduced meals. Some families were also picking up those meals Tuesday. Meals, breakfast and lunch are being distributed Monday through Friday at 28 Buffalo Public Schools while the city schools remain closed. The district now expects to distribute up to 60,000 meals each day.
Principal Restiva says the school also has their special education team ready to continue helping students with learning disabilities. Counselors will continue to help with students who are dealing with on-going social-emotional needs.
An ENL teams are also assisting students who speak other languages. Futures Academy has a diverse student population that includes children who speak Swahili and Burmese.
“I have to guidance counselors a full time social worker that are in constant contact with those families and students on a regular basis, so they have volunteer their services as much as they can through this time off,” Restiva explained.
If parents are unable to pick up student packets, the district is working on protocol for possible drop offs to homes.