LOS ANGELES — An empty room is like a blank page to Charla Austin-Harris: filled with the possibilities of a new school year.
But now the campus is empty, as the staff grapples with distance learning in the fall. Over the summer, Austin-Harris built a garden and expanded the campus “maker space” where the kids will eventually make art projects. Right now, the walls are adorned with art the kids made in quarantine.
“They’re going through an experience they can’t put words to right now, “Charla Austin-Harris said. “What we try to do as a school community is embrace ever student where they are.”
And where they are, is at home in a pandemic. The school is making sure each family gets a Chromebook, art supplies and books. In the Spring, Austin-Harris personally delivered meals to families that couldn’t get to campus for a free lunch.
When the Beverly Hills Unified School Districted donated boxes of books to build her dream library, Austin-Harris and her husband rented a U-Haul to bring the books to school. She has no idea when her students will actually get to hold them. It’s the smallest spaces where she will miss the students the most. Her office was always a refuge for kids who needed a break.
“I could never get any work done when I was in here. It makes me sad.”
If home is where the heart is, school sets the rhythm. So she’s creating a space to bring peace when they return.
Educators Gear up for “Back to School” Without the Students
PUBLISHED 9:32 PM PDT Aug. 09, 2020