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Tips for parents with students working online

October 8, 2020 – Too much screen time? Even if it’s for school, kids need to take regular breaks according to Ralph Bland, President of New Paradigm for Education which operates charters schools in Detroit.

In this highlight from the latest COVID313 Virtual Town Hall, Bland has some thoughts about virtual learning including having parents use Facetime to sit in on some of their children’s classes.


Read full transcript

Christine Bell Ralph, do you have suggestions for parents as they try to navigate working and monitoring and monitoring their kids education?

Christine Bell Virtually.

Ralph Bland But definitely number one setup, a comfortable environment in the home where your child can be real comfortable. I think that’s one key and make sure that they’re able to get good connection if they don’t have good connection. Another another another point that you can do is actually get a hot spot if you can’t get that hot spot. I would definitely look at the Internet providers because it’s a lot of free Internet, because sometimes kids do complain about the Internet might be a little spotty or their screen might freeze. I think that’s critical and make sure that you’re getting good screen time breaks and and that if you’re at work and your child is independent and they’re at home or online, I think definitely you will want to definitely check in with them often. And even if you can face time them from your phone, if it’s possible and actually say, hey, well, keep me on the face time. I want to just sit in on your class and see how that class is doing for about five or 10 minutes to make sure that they are engaged and that they are online. And you could ask even the instructor, hey, can you maybe send me a link or a code? And I could see them in my class for a few minutes. Just want to make sure my son or daughter is being engaged and that they are online.

Jametta Lilly We know that we’re all impacted by the digital divide and while DPSCD had that beautiful connected futures grant. There was only me that little bit of CARES dollars that went to charters. Can you talk about the level of success that you had getting both devices as well as internet access and maybe even some digital literacy? What’s working for you and what are you still maybe finding some challenges in?

Ralph Bland So it was challenging at one point being able to land on devices because everybody was out there trying to get devices. But we actually found a vendor that we were able to get devices from that they had in their warehouse. And we were able to get those devices to our students. And what we did is actually have what we call the ice cream social. Where we had backpacks for every student, we had home supply kits, a manipulative for every student in the backpack, plus their laptop. And so parents drove up and we gave them some ice cream, but also gave them their backpack with their laptop in it and their math manipulative and other school supplies that they might need at home. So we did have some success and the goal was definitely to make our our our campuses one to one and make sure that every student in the household had a computer. So we’re actually still in that process of making sure those devices get out to students and families and making sure that they’re not on their phones, because we don’t want students on their phones if they have to be on their phones, because that’s also creates breaches in the internet and allows for hackers to come in easily on your phone device.

Ralph Bland So we did have some challenges in the beginning, but we pushed through those challenges and we’re able to make sure our families get those devices and families are still getting those devices.