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  • Writer's pictureHeather Clayton Staker

21. How We Will Mind the Gap

Photo of Heather Staker holding a carton of Easter eggs

One way schools can "mind the gap" as they close temporarily is by encircling parents with messages of encouragement, support, and steadiness. Parents or other primary caregivers can take courage. We are capable of weathering this storm. Parents, school closures are tough . . . but so are we.

Although schools typically share in the work of feeding, teaching, and caring for our children, for this season families carry all of that load—often while we're trying to work, deal with sickness, or solve for unemployment.

Schools can help by giving children distance-learning opportunities, provided that they mind any gaps between where children stand and the entrance to the online-learning train (see #MindTheGap). Physiological, safety, and social belonging gaps must be addressed before children stand a chance of completing academic assignments. Once basic gaps are addressed, schools should absolutely provide academic opportunities, but in well-organized, simple ways that show empathy to parents' actual realities.

This week's Tuesday Share is a how-to for giving a Carton of Courage to a parent or caregiver. Schools that are asking parents to drive by to pick up packets of schoolwork might consider also handing out Cartons of Courage. Anyone who wants to support a family might consider leaving a Carton of Courage on their doorstep. This Share is meant to be symbolic. It represents the idea that families benefit from words of courage instead of panic; they need our reassurance and love.

So below are the steps for how to give a Carton of Courage! I talk about the origin of this idea at the beginning of podcast episode 21: How We Will #MindTheGap.

To download the high-resolution PDF from my Google Drive, click here.

What other solutions have you found to #MindTheGap? Share them on Twitter and tag them with #gap1, #gap2, #gap3, etc. Then visit to see what others have shared. It's heartening to see the ways communities and families are rising to meet the moment with creativity and courage.


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