A few weeks into his district’s distance learning program, high school English teacher James MacIndoe and his colleagues took an afternoon to telephone the families of every student they hadn’t yet heard from, according to Stephen Sawchuk
, associate editor for Education Week and Christina Samuels
, associate editor for Education Week.
Photo: KazimYilman/iStock/GettyWhat they found was sobering: voicemail prompts, full mailboxes, wrong numbers, disconnections, busy signals.
“I called 12 sets of parents on Friday and I got to speak to one mom, and that was really frustrating,” said MacIndoe, who works in the Jefferson County, Colo., district. “I have some students I legitimately haven’t seen since March 13,” the last day of in-person classes.
“I don’t want anything bad to happen to my students, and I feel protective of them, and I want them to be fine,” he said. “And it’s distressing not to have any idea where they are and not to be able to get in touch with them.”
In the upheaval created by the coronavirus, school district administrators and teachers alike are struggling to answer some of the most basic questions about their students: Where are they? How do they go about finding them?
Are the students who aren’t participating in distance learning merely checked out—or are they in some kind of peril wrought by the pandemic?...
A Growing Population
The 1.5 million homeless students in 2017-18 marked a record
, data from earlier this year show, and could grow larger as unemployment rises and the economy stumbles.Barbara Duffield
, the executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, a national advocacy organization for homeless youth, said that the students falling out of contact with trusted adults is one of the biggest issues her organization is facing now...
Every time they reach a student, the educator will log notes of the call in a secure database—for example, if a student is having problems connecting to online learning or if a family member lost a job. On the other side, counselors, principals, and case managers will use the notes to connect the families to resources.
For those students it can’t initially reach, Phoenix Union will begin using emergency contacts to try to track down families, and it will also send some to conduct home visits using appropriate social-distancing techniques. Read more...
Source: Education Week