By now, you are aware of the devastation in Texas.
Hurricane Harvey, with its record-breaking rainfall, and resulting aftermath has left countless people in desperate need. While recovery efforts are just beginning, the outlook is dire. There are an estimated 50,000 homes destroyed with estimates potentially as high as 100,000 homes for a final count, over 32,000 displaced individuals in overcrowded shelters scattered across the state, and analysts are forecasting grim predictions of an energy crisis.
As educators, it is impossible not to think about the number of P-12 students affected. The new school year – typically a time of optimism and hope – is now uncharacteristically challenging for many. There are Texas schools unsure of when or if they will reopen, and the situation is heartbreaking.
Now, more than ever, we must consider the significance of the Whole Child Initiative. This holistic philosophy posits that for a child to be educated successfully, the child must be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. As educators, we must amplify our efforts to invest in the future of Texas students and school districts that are presently facing major obstacles. While Texas natives and others are rallying to help Houston and other coastal cities, it may not be enough.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of resources to support Texas during this difficult time, and to provide confirmation that educators, schools, and ASCD members come together in times of need, demonstrating that we are pillars of leadership, service, community and charity.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Communities in Schools of Houston has established a disaster relief fund to directly help our students and their families in the five Houston-area independent school districts.
- The Houston Independent School District Foundation is accepting direct donations to help families recover.
- The Texas Rural Education Association Foundation is also accepting donations for smaller coastal towns affected by Harvey.
- Donations can also be made to the Red Cross or Salvation Army.
- The Houston Independent School District is also accepting new clothes, school supplies, toiletries, canned food, water or other tangible items. Items can be dropped off or shipped to: HISD Harvey Donations, Delmar Fieldhouse, 2020 Mangum Road, Houston, TX 77092.
- Educators can also contact his or her elected officials to request and advocate for funding and aid to schools be made a priority.
- Educators can also offer encouragement to districts in crisis. Organize a letter or email writing campaign from your staff and/or student to offer support, and reach out to other educators. Share resources via social media. If you have special skills, this is an idea time to extend them virtually.
- Educators can also give blood. The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, as well as other blood donation centers, are reporting critical shortages. Find a blood drive near you, and make a difference.
Educators are immensely creative and passionate – and know best what will be needed when teachers and students can return to the classroom. Collaborate with your team and develop resourceful ideas to incorporate the Whole Child Initiative with support for Texas Schools.
TEXANS THANK YOU!
Dr. Yolanda M. Rey, Ph.D. and Laura Stubbins, Texas ASCD