As schools begin to resume their operations for the upcoming academic year, we are seeing many who are providing options for families to decide how their students will return to school this fall. Many school corporations are providing both in-person and online options to accommodate the diverse needs and concerns of their students and families. For those who are considering an online learning format, there may be some apprehension around students effectively learning and receiving the wrap-around supports they need to be successful. In this edition of Community Connection, we will explore virtual resources that provide access, participation and equity and can further assist your student’s educational achievements.
Virtual Tutoring for Skills Building
One of the top concerns regarding online learning shared by parents, guardians, teachers, and administrators is the great potential for learning loss as a result of the sudden shift to online learning in Spring 2020. Some may be concerned for an even greater loss or gap by allowing students to continue online learning, especially for those from underserved communities. It’s important to realize, though, that there are a number of pre-existing and new resources designed to provide tutoring support. Here are just a few:
- IU Indiana Kids Program: This statewide tutoring program provides free tutoring, mentor partnering and programs & workshops for students and families all across Indiana. Students in grades 6-12 can receive support in the evenings online or by phone in subjects such as math, English, science, and social studies. Click here to learn more. Grades served: 6-12.
- Indiana Online: Indiana Online has virtual resources for students, parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators. In addition to online high school courses, Indiana online connects students to local and online tutors. To request a tutor or see who is in your area, click here. Grades served: 9-12.
- Khan Academy: “We’re a non-profit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” Khan Academy courses range from pre-K through college and cover a variety of topics from reading and language arts to math, science, computing, and economics. You can explore more here. Grades served: Pre-K through college.
Remember to ask your student’s teachers and check out your local library for additional resources!
E-Mentoring and Social & Emotional Development
Learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom. There are many social and emotional skills that students get when they engage with others in informal learning settings. Mentoring is a great way to develop those skills and start learning about the importance of building relationships that set your student up for personal and academic success.
- Indiana MENTOR: Indiana MENTOR has been supporting Hoosiers with home-based and community care resources for both children and adults for 35 years. Their resources include support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and medically complex needs. To learn more or become a mentor yourself, check out their website here. Ages served: children and adults.
- MENTOR: Known as the National Mentoring Partnership, MENTOR helps connect students to caring adults who want to support youth in exploring academic and career pathways, making healthy choices, and assisting with specific problems or issues students may be having in their lives. You can search for a mentoring program here. Ages served: 7-24.
- MENTOR Indiana: If you are interested in being a mentor for students in Indiana, a local partnership between MENTOR and the Indiana Youth Institute started in 2008 to provide connections for high quality mentoring opportunities. Click here to learn how to become a mentor today. Mentors serve children ages 7-24.
- Mentoring Services and Leadership Development (MSLD): A program within the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, & Multicultural Affairs at Indiana University, MSLD hosts a number of programs designed to train faculty, staff, and students how to be effective mentors for incoming students and in near-peer relationships. These opportunities provide a guide to helping students become successful leaders. Learn more about MSLD’s vision and resources here. Program serves undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff.
Help your student enhance their social and emotional development through connections to healthy, supportive relationships with your community’s leaders.
Incorporating Social Justice Resources in E-Learning
There are a number of tough, but vital, conversations that we need to have with our children. As parents, guardians, and educators, we don’t always know where to begin. We’ve curated a few resources below to help you begin to explore how you might incorporate social justice and anti-racist resources in your student’s e-learning.
- In response to the heinous, racist acts that occurred in late May and early June 2020, CNN partnered with Sesame Street to hold a series of town hall conversations helping families with young children have important conversations about racism, prejudice, and privilege. You can watch “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” here. Ages served: 2-10.
- The Anti-Defamation League has also produced some excellent resources that families can explore together through hands-on activities (“Thinking about Social Justice through Crafts and Conversation”) or by reading and learning through books designed to address topics on identity, bias, bullying, and more. This reading list also contains literature that features central characters and heroes from all backgrounds. Ages served: 3-18.
- Another outlet for e-learning that may resonate more with older students is learning through podcasts. There are numerous podcasts that address a variety of topics that include social justice and anti-racist conversations. One IU faculty member teaches empathy in her Introduction to Sociology course a series of curated podcasts. Hear what she has to say about this new teaching tool. Ages served: college undergraduate and graduate.
- For K-12 teachers looking for ways to incorporate social justice resources into a variety of subject areas (including math, English, history, science, performing arts, and more), check out the library of resources created by the College of Education at the University of Iowa. Grades served: Kindergarten through 12.
These resources are only a small representation of the ways we can begin teaching students about access, equity, and social justice.
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