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Durham Education Leader Says Community Must Step Up For Low Income Students

Durham Public Schools will discuss switching to all-virtual instruction at a meeting Thursday evening.
Durham Public Schools will discuss switching to all-virtual instruction at a meeting Thursday evening.

Local school districts within North Carolina can choose to follow Gov. Roy Cooper’s guidance on Plan B reopening — which includes remote and in-classroom hybrid learning — or they can choose complete remote-learning for the upcoming school year. 

Host Anita Rao discusses how Durham Public Schools and other North Carolina school districts can best serve low-income students this fall.

Durham Public Schools’ current plan offers in-person learning for pre-K through eighth-grade students, with an option to enroll in the virtual Ignite! Online Academy. High school students will learn remotely unless they qualify for an exception — which includes students who need English as a Second Language or exceptional children services.

Alexandra Zagbayou says that is insufficient for students of lower socio-economic status. Factors that ensure a quality education like food, shelter, internet access and online literacy may be limited, and providing a stable learning environment is crucial. Host Anita Rao talks with Zagbayou about potential solutions, like utilizing community space for students. Zagbayou is the executive director of Student U, a Durham non-profit aimed at empowering first-generation college students.

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Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.