Weekly roundup: Project Hope Alliance, Mendez virtual groundbreaking, tutors in demand, and more

Since March, Project Hope Alliance has put Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots in the hands of about 850 schoolchildren who are homeless and engaged in distance learning. Many are living in local motels — a fact that hits close to home for Jennifer Friend, who heads the nonprofit.

An image of paper in a typewriter with the words "Orange County Education News"

The Orange County Register reported this week that when Friend was a child, she lived with her parents and three brothers in one of the motels she visited recently.

Now a successful lawyer, mother and community leader, Friend is leveraging her organization’s reach and resources to keep local families connected, recognizing that education is critical to breaking the cycles of poverty and homelessness. But the financial costs are continuing to mount for Project Hope Alliance.

“We desperately need a tech partner to step in and, at minimum, defer some of these costs,” she said. “This isn’t going to go away.”

Here are some other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • CBS Los Angeles, which also covered the groundbreaking event, noted that Mendez Tribute Monument Park will help raise public awareness of the landmark civil rights case that still remains largely unknown, even in Southern California.
  • When it comes to testing staff members for COVID-19, OC districts are taking different approaches. While some recommend regular tests, the Los Alamitos and Cypress school districts have mandated testing for their employees.
  • Distance learning has increased the demand for tutors, but for every parent who can afford academic support for their child, there are plenty more who can’t. That’s adding to concerns about equity.
  • Hundreds of thousands of California students still don’t have the resources they need to engage in distance learning because of global backorders and the absence of broadband infrastructure in some parts of the state, EdSource reports.
  • About three-fourths of voters surveyed say California schools need more funding to safely offer in-person instruction and to provide meaningful distance learning. Most believe the federal government should assist schools and colleges.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.