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Remote learning sets kids back an average of 2 months. Here’s what Macy’s and RIF are doing to help underserved students who are falling behind.
Photo courtesy of Macy's
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When almost all of the nation's schoolchildren were forced to embark upon remote learning, everyone struggled to stay afloat: families, students, and teachers. Despite the heroic efforts of educators and families, remote learning presented significant challenges for students, particularly those of lower socioeconomic status.

It's not yet clear the significant learning challenges all students faced last year and the resulting impact as many students return to in person learning this Fall. Preliminary data suggests significant learning loss - particularly among children of color.

The ability to read and write is the foundation upon which an education is built, and research shows students of color and those in high-poverty communities fell even further behind during remote learning than their peers. For example, the sudden shift to remote schooling in Spring 2020 set White students back by 1-3 months in math, while students of color lost 3-5 months of learning.

This systemic inequity that has existed in the American education system for decades has disproportionately left students of color behind, and the COVID-19 school closures multiplied this challenge, impacting a generation of already at-risk youth. Disparities in access to computers, home internet connections, and direct instruction from teachers, all have played a role in this crisis since the start of the pandemic. Even prior to the pandemic, 65% of children in the U.S. were not reading at the proficient level, and 2/3 of U.S. children living in poverty don't have a children's book in their home.


Macy's is a longtime partner of Reading Is Fundamental, the nation's largest children's literacy nonprofit organization; this year, they're taking action to address this overwhelming problem via back-to-school shopping. Every time you shop at Macy's in August, round up your in-store purchase to the nearest dollar up to 99 cents or donate online to help support children's literacy. Every $4 donated purchases one book, and one hundred percent of donations go directly to literacy programs for local children.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Over the past 18 years, Macy's partnership with Reading Is Fundamental has provided more than 14 million books and thousands of supplemental reading resources to kids across the country. Your support will have a direct impact on communities across the country by funding critical literacy needs in communities that have the greatest need.

"At Robert Head Start & Early Head Start, we ordered our books from [Reading Is Fundamental] last school year and were able to distribute them to the children during a time when children really needed extra support at home while school was often closed for weeks at a time due to COVID-19. It was really wonderful to watch the children select their own book from the rich variety.

"As staff, we enjoyed seeing the children's eyes light up as they would select the book they really wanted. It also helped us to learn about their likes and in some ways their dislikes. We were able to provide several opportunities throughout the school year in which the children were given the opportunity to select a book as we actually had enough for each child to receive three books. The grant supported by Macy's not only helped us during a time of need when the children were spending so few days in an actual classroom, it provided the children with the beginning of their own home library," said Brenda Laurent, the Center Manager at Regina Coeli Child Development Center in Robert, LA.

Supporting students who struggled with and fell behind due to the negative learning impacts of the pandemic will require all of us to pull together. Improved literacy not only benefits today's children, but future generations shaping the trajectory of our country.

Joy

Delivery driver's reaction to snacks left for him shows how a little kindness goes a long way

'Seeing a grown man get so excited about Capri Sun is extra wholesome.'

"Dee" the delivery guy stoked to get some Doritos.

Sometimes the smallest gesture can change someone’s day for the better, especially when that act of kindness lets them know their work is appreciated. Over the last few years, delivery drivers have done a fantastic job keeping people healthy during the pandemic, so Toni Hillison Barnett told News 11 that she and her husband started a tradition of leaving snacks for their drivers on the front porch.

The Barnetts, who live in Louisville, Kentucky, can see the drivers' reactions by recording them on their doorbell cameras. “I live for reactions like this to our snack cart! Thx to all of the delivery drivers out there! We appreciate you!” Toni wrote on an Instagram post.

Recently, one of the Barnetts’ delivery guys, a joyous fellow that we believe is known as Dee, went viral on TikTok because of his positive reaction to receiving some snacks during his deliveries. The snacks are tasty, no doubt. But it’s also wonderful to feel appreciated. After Toni posted the video, it received more than 100,000 views.

“Oh my God, you guys are the best, I gotta take a snapshot of this,” Dee can be heard saying in the video. “Oh, Capri Suns are my favorite, Yes!”

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Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Cat hilariously rats out owner in front of the landlord.

Maybe it's a right of passage into adulthood or maybe some landlords discriminate against pets because they can't tell people kids are forbidden in their residence. Either way, just about everyone has lived in a rental home that didn't allow pets. Most people just abide by the rules and vow to get a pet when they find a new home.

Some people, on the other hand, get creative. I once came across a post on social media where someone claimed their pit bull puppy was actually a silver Labrador. But one woman on TikTok was harboring a secret cat in her rental that had a no pets policy, and either her cat was unaware or he was aware and was simply being a jerk.

My money is on the latter since cats are known to be jerks for no reason. I mean, have you ever left something on the counter for a few minutes? They make it their mission to knock it on the floor. So I fully believe this fluffy little meow box wanted to make his presence known in an effort to rat out his owner.

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Phil Collins and George Harrison

This article originally appeared on 12.01.21


Beatle George Harrison was pigeon-holed as the "Quiet Beatle," but the youngest member of the Fab Four had an acerbic, dry sense of humor that was as sharp as the rest of his bandmates.

He gave great performances in the musical comedy classics, "A Hard Days Night" and "Help!" while holding his own during The Beatles' notoriously anarchic press conferences. After he left the band in 1970, in addition to his musical career, he would produce the 1979 Monty Python classic, "The Life of Brian."

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
woman holding a cup of tea, writing in a notebook

It's no secret that everyone could use a little kindness in their lives and it can come in many forms. Sometimes it's the neighbor cutting your grass when your husband's away and you're too busy to get to it yourself. Other times it's sending a card to the elderly widow down the street.

One woman in Arkansas has taken to spreading kindness through writing letters to strangers. Allison Bond, 25, started writing letters over a year ago during COVID-19 when she couldn't attend school due to her medical condition. Bond has cerebral palsy and is at greater risk for serious illness should she contract the virus. Writing letters was an act of kindness that didn't require a trip out of the house.

Bond began by writing to soldiers and inmates. In fact, the first letter she received back was from a soldier. Bond told 5News, "I have one framed from a soldier. He had all his battle buddies sign it. So I framed it so I could put it up." She's kept every letter she's received.

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