After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s Schools Aid Recovery, Resolve to Build a Better Future
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After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s Schools Aid Recovery, Resolve to Build a Better Future

(storm winds) (somber music) (generator engine starting) – We had Hurricane George here in, I don’t know, maybe it was ’98? And one of the criticisms was schools came back online too fast. So how do you navigate the pressure to return to some sense of
normalcy and provide hope and give the kids routine again, right? With not really being ready
to do something too quick. – I feel very sad. I had to learn so much of
school, I miss my friends, and it looked like the
school was destroyed. It’s like the school was destroyed and they was never going to rebuild it. – I think the most important
thing that we should all keep focused on right now
are the needs of human beings. Because Puerto Ricans are
going through a difficult time. So what do we do? We found this interim step, which is like if your school can open, open. It’s a soft opening,
you’re a community center. We ease into these things
because we’re smart about looking at what worked
before and what didn’t, or if you wanna do something,
what infrastructure you need to have ready to
be able to execute well. People who lived very humble
lives, are now in schools with the entirety of their
possessions next to them. (balls bouncing) – [Man] Was your house destroyed? Do you have nowhere to live? (speaks in a foreign language) – The half of the house, she
lost a half of the house. (helicopter propeller) – It was impossible to get communication after the hurricane. Everything was interrupted,
communications, electricity, water, everything. Still now, we don’t have communications with most of our teachers. – [Aida] Our personnel
is going to the schools, to these towns, to see how they are and organizing them to give them some food. – We have places where we didn’t have access until last week. Oh my God. The best inspiration is the desire to improve yourself, to better yourself. – [Julia] I’ve heard that
teachers have lost their homes. I mean, and the number
that’s getting to me, in the grand scheme of things,
is a little bit alarming. Because it seems like a lot of our workforce has been impacted. We’ve researched what
happened with Katrina, what happened with Sandy. What did Florida do
immediately after Irma? We’re talking with Miami-Dade. They are best practices out there. There are lessons learned. What happens in December? What happens in January? Who’s gonna remember us in February? Are we still relevant? There’s an onslaught right
now of people who wanna help. And I’m just wondering if
maybe some of those people who wanna help now could
say, I’ll help you now or I’ll help you in December,
or instead of helping you now, you know what, I’m gonna
come back in January. And we’ll figure out where you are and we’ll provide those resources. Teachers need a chance to be trained. I think there needs to be
a little bit more focus. The instructional practice has to change. But it’s possible to do, it
was possible before, and again, the hurricane interrupted
my system, but now there’s a new opportunity, and more of
an urgency, that’s around me. Education is key to Puerto Rico’s future. My main objective is that every child in Puerto Rico gets a quality education. If my school system provides that, great. If another system in the state is gonna provide that, that’s great too.

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