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During this extraordinary time when New York City’s educators are working closely with students and families from the confines of their homes, we will be publishing a series of posts describing their experiences in their own words. We are now #DOEconnected!

Follow our hashtag, #DOEconnected, join the conversation, and connect online with your neighbors across the City. Share stories of how you, your child, a teacher, or a school community member has become your hero. Remember, not all heroes wear capes.

New York City public schools made a monumental transition to remote learning on Monday, March 23. While the transition has been anything but easy, the City’s dedicated educators came together to virtually face all—known and unknown—challenges.

With the first weeks of remote learning behind us, we checked in with some of our educators to see how things are going:

Principal Emily Paige waving at students on videocam

Emily Paige, principal at the Urban Assembly Unison School in Clinton Hill

Emily Paige, principal at the Urban Assembly Unison School in Clinton Hill

“The biggest challenge right now is the digital divide. Once students have devices, it’s providing the one-to-one troubleshooting that is required when a device is unfamiliar to students to get them onto the accounts and apps they need.”

While bridging the digital divide is a challenge the DOE is focusing on across the City, with plans to deliver 300,000 LTE-connected iPads to students who need them, Principal Paige and her staff members at the Urban Assembly Unison School have been working “hard, smart, collaboratively, and tirelessly to accomplish [the] incredible goal” of creating a brand new model of schooling that works for all students.

Urban Assembly Unison’s nickname has always been the “Trailblazers,” but now the school’s students, families, and staff members have truly earned that label with their resilience and dedication  in making the transition to remote learning. Principal Paige says, “We are building learning models that place our students at the center—building student independence, agency, and self-determination through this process. I cannot wait to see how all this shapes Unison for years to come even after we re-enter our building.”

Emily Page is emblematic of how New York City’s educators are adapting to these unprecedented times on behalf of our students and families. We thank our educators for helping all of us stay #DOEconnected.

If your student needs a device, check out our “Need a Device for Remote Learning?” post, and visit our website to learn more about how the DOE is getting devices to our students.

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of a million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019