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Stories from the Front Lines

May 6, 2020

Henry Velasquez

Henry Velasquez, University Prep (UP!) Middle School Program Supervisor, shares a story about how he helped ensure equitable access to distance learning for Latino students in Marin during Shelter in Place.

Henry Velasquez, UP! Middle School Supervisor
Henry Velasquez

After we shifted to supporting our students through online learning, one of our middle school students did not have access to the internet during the first week of online learning, and was unable to notify her teachers that she would not be able to see her assignments. 

When I learned this, I notified all six of her teachers, and we also notified the principal and assistant principal about this student’s situation. We have since partnered with them to obtain internet access for her and her family within the coming weeks.  

All six of her teachers were very appreciative of being notified and agreed that any upcoming assignments for the 4th quarter would not affect her grade because of her inability to obtain internet access. 

In the meantime, I helped the student submit previously completed assignments by having her take pictures of the assignments and emailing them to her teachers. By doing this, her 3rd quarter grades improved before the end of the quarter.  

If her teachers had not known of her situation, the student would not have been able to submit her assignments to improve her grades. Through this whole ordeal, the student has been really worried about her schoolwork and has been reaching out to me when she has needed support. 

On April 28th, the student notified me she had received a hotspot box from the school. She will now be able to complete her homework without worrying about internet access! This is just one of many efforts we have made to ensure that all of our students have access to online learning. We are committed to helping our students through the remainder of the school year, and will continue to stay in communication with the schools on behalf of our students and families during this difficult time.

Read more about Henry and his work supporting UP! students in a story Michael Gomez shared with us here on Stories from the Front lines

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While we hear many devastating individual stories, we are inspired by the resilience of our clients. We are also heartened by the generosity of our volunteers and donors who support our emergency response efforts.

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