Back To School

066: Dr. Melissa Garofalo Monaco, MD — A Pediatrician’s Perspective on Covid-19

066: Dr. Melissa Garofalo Monaco, MD — A Pediatrician’s Perspective on Covid-19 1024 512 Chase Jennings

We are facing unprecedented times and as parents, we have an added responsibility of decision making for our children. We may be working from home, but should they homeschool or go back for live sessions or do a hybrid of virtual and in-person.

Today I am joined by my kids’ beloved pediatrician, Dr. Melissa Garofalo Monaco of Forest Pediatrics in Paramus, NJ.

Originally from Saddle Brook, NJ, Dr. Garofalo had been practicing pediatrics in New Jersey since 2008. She started as a graduate of the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology in Hackensack, NJ. She then graduated with high honors from the combined BS/MD program though Stevens Institute Technology, Hoboken NJ and New Jersey Medical School Newark, NJ. She completed her pediatric training at Schneider Children’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY and also served as Chief Resident of Pediatrics. Her interests include promoting breast feeding and obesity prevention. She is board certified in Pediatrics and is a member of the NJ AAP section on Breast Feeding and has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 2007. Her hospital affiliations include Hackensack University Medical Center and Valley Hospital. She has been the recipient of the Castle Connolly Top Doctor Award and NJ Kids Favorite Docs.

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065: Anibal Soler, Jr. — Back To School Or Not? Safety and Guidelines

065: Anibal Soler, Jr. — Back To School Or Not? Safety and Guidelines 1024 512 Chase Jennings

According to governor.ny.gov, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that based on each region’s infection rate, schools across the state are permitted to open this fall. Every region’s infection rate is below the threshold necessary by the State’s standards to open schools. The Department of Health will review submitted reopening plans from school districts and notify districts of their status on Monday. Out of 749 school districts across the state, 127 have not yet submitted plans to the Department of Health, and another 50 are incomplete or deficient. The determination of how individual districts reopen – in-person vs a hybrid model – will be made by local school districts under strict Department of Health guidelines.

The Governor also announced that school districts must post their remote learning plan online as well as their plan for testing and tracing students and teachers. Schools must also have three to five public meetings prior to August 21 with parents – who will be allowed to participate remotely – as well as one meeting with teachers to go through their reopening plan.

“Based on our infection rate, New York State is in the best possible situation right now. If anybody can open schools, we can open schools. We do masks, we do social distancing, we’ve kept that infection rate down, and we can bring the same level of intelligence to the school reopening that we brought to the economic reopening,” Governor Cuomo said. ” Our school guidance has been touted as the smartest in the country. Our economic reopening guidance was the smartest in the country. So, if anyone can do it, we can do it. But we have been successful because we’ve been smart and we have to continue to be smart. Parents and teachers must feel safe and secure in each school district’s plan to return to school, and those plans must adhere to the Department of Health’s guidance. To ensure that is the case, New York’s family’s must be fully informed and part of the conversation. And so, over the next several weeks, school districts must engage: Talking to parents and teachers and getting all parties on board.”

Of the 70,170 test results reported to New York State yesterday, 714, or 1.0 percent, were positive.

Today I am joined by Superintendent Anibal Soler.

Mr. Anibal Soler, Jr. is currently the Superintendent of Schools for the Batavia City School District. A small city school district located in Genesee County that serves approximately 2,200 students.

Before his appointment as Superintendent of Batavia City Schools, Anibal served as the Associate Superintendent of Strategic Alignment and Innovation for Buffalo Public Schools, the second-largest school district in New York State. In that role, his leadership focused on building and supporting Strong Community Schools, a turnaround strategy used to move the district’s lowest-performing schools to schools in “good-standing”. He also supervised District Athletics and Adult Education Division and lastly the district’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Prior to his role as an Associate Superintendent, Anibal was a Principal at North Park Academy in North Buffalo, where he helped establish North Buffalo’s first community school and helped transition the school from a 5-8th grade school to a new PreK to 8 Community School.

Previous to his role at North Park Academy, Anibal served 7 years as a high school Principal in the Rochester City School district where he led the district’s largest comprehensive high school. Through his professional journey, he also has served in prior capacities as an Academy Director, Instructional Technology Teacher, and Art Teacher.

In 2014, Anibal was recognized by President Obama and The White House as a Latino Educator Champion of Change for his leadership and commitment to positive change for the Latino community.

Additionally, Anibal is a member of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) a national organization that advocates for Latinos and Latino educators. In 2011-12, Anibal was a Charter Member of the inaugural ALAS Superintendents Leadership Academy in 2011-12. Currently, he serves as the Communications Officer and Regional Board member for the New York State Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (NYSALAS) representing Western, NY.

This past October 2019, Mayor Byron Brown of the City of Buffalo recognized Anibal as a Champion of Education as part of Buffalo’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Finally, Anibal is a husband and proud father to four amazing kids. He enjoys sports, staying current with technology trends, and reading education-themed articles and books.

Most recently, in December 2019 Anibal was selected as the next Superintendent for Batavia City Schools in Batavia, NY.

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064: Alice Benedict — Back To School Or Not? An Insider’s Take

064: Alice Benedict — Back To School Or Not? An Insider’s Take 1024 512 Chase Jennings

Parents are in a state of frenzy as we navigate Back To School season. Gone are the days of buying binders and decorations for our kids lockers. Now we’re ensuring our Wifi is up to the mark and are having our kids become acclimated with Zoom, Google Meet, and Google Classroom.

Alice Benedict is a retired paralegal and president of the board of education in Botavia City School District in upstate New York since May of 2020/elected in July 2020. Our school district has approximately 2200 students.

She’s also a mother of three. Mother of three children since 1978. They are all adults now.

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047: Kanika Chadda-Gupta — Homeschooling During COVID-19

047: Kanika Chadda-Gupta — Homeschooling During COVID-19 1024 512 Chase Jennings

Around the nation, more than 124,000 schools are closed or are scheduled to close, impacting more than 55.1 million students.

Chances are that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has impacted your family and your kids are at home indefinitely.

As families evaluate how to keep their children safe and healthy while still learning, here are some of my recommended educational resources to navigate these unique times, including printables – my toddler schedule, worksheets for toddlers on letters, shapes, and numbers, and at-home scavenger hunt.

Here are a few of my favorite resources to help you get through motherhood during this crisis:

Free Download

  • VIRTUAL SCAVENGER HUNT: Here’s a free Home Scavenger Hunt I created (to download them, simply click below and select File > Print)!

Virtual Classes and Events

APPS:

  • ABC MOUSE: ABCmouse.com helps kids learn to read through phonics, and teaches lessons in math, social studies, art, music, and much more
  • KHAN ACADEMY KIDS: Learning is joyful with Khan Academy Kids! Their award-winning app includes thousands of educational activities, books, songs, and games for toddlers.
  • CIRCLE TIME: Circletime Fun offers kids classes from home that you can either watch on-demand or participate in live. Each class is led by an expert instructor and geared toward children ages 0-6. Registration is required to access the classes but is free with this code: homefun1.
  • ABCYA: ABCya offers more than 400 educational games for children in grades Pre-K through 6. Games are categorized by grade and subject, and families can access all ABCya’s regular games and videos with a free subscription.
  • BRAIN POP: BrainPOP provides animated interactive lessons, quizzes, and games for core subjects and a variety of electives.
  • PBS: Stream your favorite new PBS shows — and ones from the archives!

If you have any suggestions for show topics or guests I should invite on the show or are seeking advice with your personal journey through pregnancy or parenting or just want to say hi, II’d love to hear from you. Write to me at thatstotalmomsense@gmail.com. Remember, always trust your mom sense. Stay strong, supermamas! See you next time.

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