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Image: Rachel Herring

Frontline Reflections: Rachel Herring

Rachel Herring is the Anishinaabe Education Academic Tutor at Deer River Schools. Due to the schools’ hybrid learning model, Rachel worked with community leaders to create “Learning Hubs” in Ball Club and Inger where students can access high-speed Internet to participate in distance learning. In 2020, Blandin Foundation awarded five grants totaling $410,000 to address the inequities in the use of technology for students across the Itasca area.

“The year 2020 has affected many different people across the nation, all in different ways. One thing that is common across our country is that we are all getting used to doing things differently. I have three children who are all school age, I work in education, and attend college myself. The biggest change that we have seen is getting used to the idea of distance learning. As an adult I still struggle through distance learning and it has been hard to see both my children and the students that I work with adjust to this new normal.

I am very thankful that I work and live in the community of Deer River. It is at times like this where we can see the advantages of living in a community that has such close bonds. Many people within the community help each other out in times of need.

This same attitude towards helping your neighbor makes me feel hopeful about the future. I see our teachers and staff working hard to maintain connections with students. I see our teachers and staff coming together and brainstorming ways to make the school year safer and easier for the student. Deer River has been working towards aiding the education of the students in the best and safest way possible. Community outreach and accessibility is important. Towards that end, our Anishinaabe Education Department working with the Full-Service Community Schools program has started what we call “Learning Hubs” in the surrounding communities of Ball Club and Inger. It is a great place for kids to catch up with work and connect with staff in a safe and controlled environment.

As this year of 2020 turns into the next, I am hopeful that my community and my school will continue to adjust and overcome each problem and trial as it is presented to us. Our strength is within our community; we are all in this together.”

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