Human Touch Spotlight – Karen Calder

By Lou Solomon

Home / Storyteller / Human Touch Spotlight – Karen Calder

Every child should be afforded the opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

“Back to School” in 2020 means remote learning for over a 100,000 of the local students served by Classroom Central, and many of them still don’t have materials to take notes, complete lesson activities, or create in art class. 

Executive Director Karen Calder and Classroom Central have been helping schools, teachers and at-risk students cope with this hardship for many years.

When Calder visited Interact Studio on Human Touch, we asked about the additional challenge brought about by

COVID, she said, “One of the misconceptions this year is that kids who are learning virtually from home won’t need school supplies, when in fact the need is greater.” 

Local students who can’t afford school supplies rely on their school to provide them—and they still need them at home. Teachers still need supplies for their own at-home setups. 

Some of the School Districts served by Classroom Central are taking a hybrid approach to virtual and in-classroom learning. The need is doubled since materials from home can’t be taken to the classroom.

COVID 19 is widening the gap. Families with resources are hiring tutors and forming learning pods. This isn’t an option for folks living on the fringes. Kids are left with relatives who aren’t technically savvy, or unattended at home all together. Calder and Classroom Central are working to ensure that our community understands the need.

Her formula for success? 

Get creative and galvanize support from community partners for our at-risk kids. Classroom Central has gotten creative with online ordering and curbside pickup. Thanks to help from community partners like the Carolina Panthers, they have deployed 20,000 backpacks to 26 schools in Charlotte. But the need is great. Classroom Central serves 127,000 kids in 6 school districts. CMS is just one of them, although it represents 50% of the students.

What is she most worried about?

“I worry about the social, emotional, and educational health of our students this year. When kids aren’t in school, so many things can happen.”

Students still need your support. Find out how you can help give these kids access to education on Classroom Central

Tune in to the full Human Touch episode with Karen below: