Plans and evidence of the work our school community and organization have engaged in are addressed below. Our school community’s efforts to support students and families during these extraordinary times have been guided by a holistic and inclusive process beginning two weeks prior to the declaration of the state of emergency in response to COVID-19. Indeed, a school community meeting was convened by our administration on March 3, 2020 in order to prepare our entire community of families for the impending systemic crisis. Additionally, through the Indigenous Education Now! Coalition and the Community Reclamation Coalition, our organization’s leadership and staff have advanced crisis response advocacy and mutual aid across East Los Angeles and indeed across the county and continent. Our core policy guidance called the Continuity of Learning Plan was memorialized by our administration and approved by our Council of Trustees on March 14, 2020. This plan and all other related announcements were made publicly available through all of our communications media by March 14, 2020, and as created.
CLOSING GAPS IN CRISIS RESPONSE
During this national crisis, we relied upon our greatest allies in preparation for and guidance through the entire process of establishing and deploying distance learning and physical school site closure which have included the California Charter School Association, the International Baccalaureate, the California Association of World Schools, Western University of Medical Sciences, the College Board, Zoom, CK-12.org, MKM Accounting, CLA Accounting, Brightstar, the Los Angeles County Superior Court Teen Court program, the NDN Collective, the California Department fo Education, California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress staff, English Language Proficiency Assessments for California staff and the Governor of California. This critical early and sustained guidance supported our work both as a charter school and as a community-based Indigenous Peoples’ organization. In fact, our families and parents have been our most capable partners as a school community from providing expert pandemic response guidance to sewing face masks, to volunteer meal distribution, to governance, it has been our parents and families who have sustained our community. It is important to underscore, that in our twenty-year experience as an autonomous community-based public charter school, our organization has had to respond to the needs of our students, staff, and community in crisis situations with our own resources. This is a critical failure and systemic gap in the local structure and management of government schooling which can continue to challenge effective and cohesive responses to crisis if left unaddressed. This is particularly egregious in consideration of the distinct population of Indigenous and American Indian students and families we serve.