Video Pitch

For my video project, I would like to interview people from different regions of the world (Guyana, Canada, and China) and compare their individual experiences dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus.

Online Challenges for the Special Needs Child

HOST:  Like many cities around the country in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic, New York City Public Schools have switched over to remote learning since last month. Over 1 million students and 75,000 teachers are now working from home, and some are struggling to adjust to the new format. This new mode of instruction has greatly limited the ability of teachers to work closely with their students, and have posed problems for students who require one-on-one assistance for their educational success, like special education teachers. 

Recently, Mayor DeBlasio announced that New York City Public Schools would be closing for the remainder of the school year, causing much frustration and uncertainty for teachers across the city. Therese Rodrigues has the story.

ACT:  Bill de Blasio school closure announcement on March 11, DE BLASIO: After very careful consideration, I announced today that the New York City Public Schools will remain closed for the remainder of this school year. Having to tell you that we can not bring our schools back for the remainder of this year is painful, but, I can also tell you, it’s the right thing to do.  

AMBI: Sounds of online class

TRACK: This is not a conventional classroom. There are no whiteboards, posters, or desks. Only a teacher, her books, and a computer. Aloma Rodrigues is a 5th grade Special Education teacher at P.S. 97 in Queens. She is looking into her laptop camera, and her students smile back at her. Some are trying to talk to their friends who they haven’t seen in weeks, others are distracted by their siblings and parents in the background. She tries to get their attention, which proves to be a difficult task. 

AMBI: Sounds of online class 

TRACK: Rodrigues teaches a self-contained class of 12 students. Each child has special educational needs and requires extensive individual attention. She, along with many other educators, have had difficulties adjusting to teaching from home. 

AMBI: Sounds of online class 

ACT: RODRIGUES: So, the remote learning format has been stressful and challenging for me. It takes a lot of time to look for resources, just to make sure that you’re finding the right one that’s appropriate for your students’ needs, so it takes a lot out of your time.

TRACK: The majority of Rodrigues’ job consists of one on one instruction. Her students each have unique sets of educational needs, which is difficult to accommodate in online instruction. 

ACT: RODRIGUES: I feel as though my role as a teacher has changed, in the fact that I don’t feel like I’m actually teaching the kids, I’m just assigning work for them to do, and the kids are basically left to figure it out on their own. 

TRACK: Coordinating with parents is essential in remote learning. They have been tasked with the responsibility of making sure their children complete their work. Communication with parents, however, has been difficult. 

ACT: RODRIGUES: It has been very challenging dealing with the parents. A lot of times, I’ve been sending out multiple messages a day, just to make sure that the kids are doing their work on time, and parents are not responding to the messages, so it’s been very challenging.    

TRACK: For elementary school students, remote learning consists more of online assignments than video calls or conferences. Students have had difficulty adjusting to this new format. 

ACT: RODRIGUES: I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my students. For some kids, they’re producing work that’s really outstanding- and I know that they’re not doing the work themselves, and they’re getting help. And on the other hand, I know that kids are not putting their best effort in their work, I know they can do a lot more. 

TRACK: Although Rodrigues tries to schedule daily meetings with her students, she feels as if the experience is inadequate in replicating the dynamics of her normal classroom. 

ACT: RODRIGUES: When we have a Google Meeting to do a read-aloud, sometimes you have six students showing up, or you have students showing up maybe five minutes before the meeting is over, and some days only three students show up, depending on the day, or I guess, how late they went to bed that night.    

AMBI: Sounds of online class     

TRACK:  The parents of these students have also had to adjust to the new learning format. Remote Learning requires extensive parental or guardian support, as children do not have the same organized schedule as they do during class. Anisha Ramjattee, the mother of a student in Rodrigues’ class, expressed her thoughts on the new learning format. 

TRACK: Ramjattee is grateful for teachers’ support during the transition 

ACT: RAMJATTE: He adjusted to remote learning faster than I thought he was going to, because of the teacher’s help, it made it very simple and easy for him.

TRACK: Her child, like many others, found trouble focusing on assignments and working independently. 

ACT: RAMJATTE: The challenge that he faced in remote learning was working independently by himself. Also at the beginning, me as a parent, having to go over the assignment with him. 

TRACK: Although Ramjattee is grateful for the support her child has received so far, the remote learning system is far from perfect.

ACT: RAMJATTE: If I could change anything about remote learning, it would be for all the teachers to work together, and send all of the work in one page. 

TRACK:  Another issue teachers have faced is coordination. Students have separate classes for Art, Technology, Dance, and Physical Education, but it is often confusing for children to balance the workloads from all of their classes.

AMBI: Sounds of online class 

TRACK: With schools closed until September, teachers, parents, and students alike have no option but to adapt to the new format. What that entails continues to evolve. For Baruch College, I’m Therese Rodrigues. 



Practice Radio Assignment


Host intro: COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, has rapidly spread from its origin in the city of Wuhan, China to almost 100 countries. With more than 150 reported cases in the state of New York, many individuals and organizations have begun to implement cautionary measures to prepare for the further spread of the virus, Therese Rodrigues, a student at Baruch College, is here to report on this pandemic. 

AMBI: Students talking inside of Baruch Cafe

TRACK: The Coronavirus has rapidly spread across the United States, and it is projected that the virus will continue to spread for months. I’m here with fellow Baruch student, Anthony Tellez, here to give his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic.  

AMBI: Student skateboarding. 

TRACK: Where were you when you first heard about the Coronavirus?

ACT: ANTHONY: I was actually at home, because I have various news apps on my phones, I get a lot of alerts, so I was probably at home when all of that went down. 

TRACK: And what were your initial thoughts when you first heard about the COVID-19 outbreak?

ACT: ANTHONY: I thought it was a bit crazy, given you know that the focus was solely on China, but, I didn’t think that it would go further than that. I found it amazing that they shut down the whole city of 11 million people. But now that there are cases around the world of people who don’t have a travel history, especially in the United States, I think it’s more concerning. 

AMBI: Students talking inside of  Baruch Cafe

TRACK: Some New Yorkers are starting to take serious precautions in everyday activities. Hand sanitizers and face masks have been wiped off store shelves, and many feel anxious and unprepared. 

TRACK: Now that there are many confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in New York City, how have you and those around you been impacted? 

ACT: ANTHONY: It hasn’t impacted me as crazy. I see people on the train with masks, hand sanitizer, refusing to touch the poles on the train. I think it’s a bit hectic given the situation we’re in, but I haven’t seen any major impact in New York City, as of yet. 

TRACK: Many CUNY students feel as if there hasn’t been enough done to ensure their safety during these uncertain times. 

AMBI: Students talking inside of  Baruch Cafe

TRACK: How do you feel CUNY has responded so far to the outbreak?

ACT: ANTHONY:  I think they’re a bit- I don’t know- I think they’re waiting around for something to happen to initiate some sort of action. I understand that they’re putting in hand sanitizer,  changing the soap, but that’s really the extent of it. I really haven’t seen any major issue- like we’re going to do classes online, or shutting down school at least. I know there’s some petition to shut down the school, but, I’m not sure what their response really is, but I know that certainly, they need to step their game up like the private institutions across the city. 

TRACK: CUNY has yet to close its doors and switch to remote learning, a move which many private universities across the state of New York, such as Columbia, NYU, Hofstra, and Syracuse have already done. Some professors have switched to online instruction already, while others refuse, saying that as long as school is open, they will continue their regularly scheduled sessions. Fears across New York City continue to grow, and there is much uncertainty of the extent to which the COVID-19 outbreak will affect the city. Only time can tell. For Baruch College, I’m Therese Rodrigues. 



New Radio Pitch

I want to focus on how remote learning due to the coronavirus is impacting the education of children with special needs. I want to talk to their parent as well as their teachers and ask how their children are adjusting to the new learning format and the challenges they may be facing because of it. My mom is a 5th-grade special education teacher, and she knows parents and other teachers who are willing to be interviewed.

Trans and Undocumented

I’m thinking of focusing on the experience of undocumented trans women who have come to the United States for safety, and how they have been impacted by the current anti-immigrant political climate. I want to ask questions about why they left their home country, how their experience in the United States has been so far, and the fears/challenges that they have faced because of their undocumented status.