As classes started within the School District of Lancaster, students were having trouble adapting to an unprecedented start to the school year: learning entirely online.
The challenges Lancaster immediately faced were ones felt by many school districts across South Central Pennsylvania. From internet connectivity to child care to a lack of devices. In one case, a student at Ross Elementary School in SDoL had to stop by the school with questions about how to use her new Chromebook device. Students were not allowed inside, but a teacher came out to help the student, who sat with her family on the front steps and learned the intricacies of her new learning tool.
Ross Principal Camille Hopkins saw the encounter and snapped a photo.
Hopkins says the relationships between educators and parents have grown out of necessity because of the learning challenges in the pandemic.
"We're sharing what we're doing. We're showing the different platforms our students will be exposed to, and what the curriculum will look like," Hopkins said, adding there will be a virtual open house Thursday night, September 24 for student's parents so they can see how their children are learning.
Much like the School District of Lancaster, East Pennsboro Area School District in Cumberland County also started its first month 100% online, though they begin a hybrid home-school model Monday. East Pennsboro's superintendent, Donna Dunar was quick to praise teachers and students for how well they adapted to the changes, while acknowledging numerous challenges.
Dunar, along with East Penn's Director of Curriculum Brian Moore, shared a few tips for parents to help their child, as well as teachers, as virtual learning continues in some form for the near future.
- Make sure your child has a daily routine, and a dedicated place to learn each day.
- Constantly check in with your child to see how their day is going
- If your child is falling behind, or struggling, don't be afraid to say something to their teacher, and then empower them to do the same.
"It's really important for students at an early age to advocate for themselves and for parents to speak up, because they are their first, best advocate for their children," Dunar said.