August 4, 2020

Back-to-School: A Word from Our Experts

By Anthony Rocha & Valerie Kelly


It’s no doubt we live in unprecedented times right now and Back-to-School is definitely looking much different than previously anticipated. Here are a few words from our in-house experts on how to navigate this new normal that includes smaller classrooms and the continuation of distance learning.

As we interviewed each Site Supervisor, they were asked, “What advice, insights, and best practices would you share with families as they are preparing to return to school in this new environment?”

1) Jazmin Lopez – Ventura Center

“As an organization, we really value our partnerships with parents.”

Throughout the interview, Jazmin stressed the importance of clear communication and effective collaboration between CDI and Parents. She mentioned, “Parents have a lot of questions and we have to continue building that trusting relationship.”  Several ways Jazmin has worked towards fostering these relationships include “Family Well-Being Checks” where CDI Staff make assessments and recommend resources such as food banks, counseling, and medical services. When asked what advice Jazmin would give to parents, she stated “Be involved, and ask questions.”


2) Janette Bryant – Sacramento Center

“Being flexible and having a positive attitude is key.”

Janette is a longtime employee of CDI. She has been working on behalf of families at CDI since 1998 for the first 6 years as a teacher, and as a Site Supervisor since 2004. Throughout her 22-year tenure at CDI Janette has seen a lot but nothing quite like the current situation. She heavily leaned on the importance of fostering clear communication channels between parents, CDI Centers, and Local Schools. Janette mentioned “This is an opportunity for parents to spend more time with their children.” but she highlighted the importance of staying up to date on assignments and remaining in communication with teachers. According to Janette parents should make sure to know when classes are scheduled and have access to student portals so they can ensure their children are succeeding. Janette also mentioned, “This will pass, and we have to be positive and make this a great experience for children.”


3) Rachel Smith – Riverside County

“We are in this together.”

Rachel repeatedly highlighted the importance of parents communicating with their children especially toddlers the severity of the pandemic. And asking questions so parents are well informed.  She mentioned, “parents need to take as many precautions as possible.” Children should be well versed on the importance of continuous hand washing, social distancing, and wearing facemasks. Rachel mentioned “We are in this together” and pointed out that her center had been proudly serving families throughout the pandemic.