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Virtual town halls on upcoming school year to be held: Aimed at parents looking for resources amid pandemic

OKEMOS — Michigan-Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana is partnering with the Michigan Teacher of the Year Network on a series of virtual town halls to give parents resources and reassurance as they and their children face a school year filled with uncertainty, according to a press release.

Whether schools are opting for remote learning, in person classes or a hybrid approach, teaching and learning are different during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents are being asked to do more while also juggling the demands of working remotely, the release states.

Ask a Teacher: Conversations With Teachers of the Year will be hour-long town hall style talks where parents can ask questions. Topics will include supporting children with special needs, effective role modeling, accessing community resources and monitoring academic performance. The panelists will not be answering specific academic questions.

“Our MTOY Network is dedicated to delivering solid, supportive information and guidance that will offer parents comfort, control and a vision during these chaotic and unsettling times,” said June Teisan, 2008 MTOY in the release. “Amid the ‘Zoom and gloom’ there’s a lot of hope and opportunity. Our goal is to help parents find their path forward.”

Teisan, a STEM education expert and was also inducted into the National Teacher Hall of Fame in 2016.

The town hall sessions will be livestreamed Sept. 2 and Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. on Facebook and Zoom. To register, visit https://www.facebook.com/ConversationsWithTeachersoftheYear.

The Sept.10 session will be specifically tailored for Detroit area parents and students.

In addition to Teisan, the teacher panelists are:

≤ Matinga Ragatz, 2011 MTOY; she is currently an instructional innovation specialist with extensive online learning experience; she is an inductee in the National Teacher Hall of Fame and is featured on Michigan Radio’s feature Stateside;

≤ Melody Arabo, 2015 MTOY; she is an elementary teacher and the author of a children’s book about bullying, she has served on the Michigan Special Education Reform Task Force and is active in Chaldean education initiatives;

≤ Rick Joseph, 2016 MTOY; a middle school teacher from Birmingham, MI; he is a National Board Certified teacher and a fierce advocate for children.

The series will be moderated by Margaret Trimer, Delta Dental’s VP of Strategic Partnerships. Trimer’s career includes six years as an education reporter at the Detroit Free Press, 10 years as Communications Director for the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, and another decade building and running University Prep Science & Math, a high-performing charter school district in Detroit.

“Our employees are anxious about educating their children during these unprecedented times,” Trimer said in the release. “Our customers and families in the communities where we do business are also facing issues and anxieties. That’s why we are tapping the best educators we can find to offer neutral, objective guidance and support.”

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