DC is helping parents prepare to guide kids with virtual learning

Young student watching lesson online and studying from home. Young woman taking notes while looking at computer screen following professor doing math on video call. Latin girl student studying from home and watching teacher explaining math formula on video chat.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Ridofranz)
This story is part of “Parenting in a Pandemic,” WTOP’s continuing coverage of how parents are dealing with child care, schooling and more through the coronavirus pandemic.

Some parents may need guidance in preparing for how best to help their kids with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, D.C. Public Schools launched “Parent University.”

“We know to kick off the school year strong, we need our parents to be lockstep with us,” said schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee.

Ferebee wants to remind families, “We’re in this together.” And whether it’s happening in person or at home, he believes that learning can best be maximized when there’s a deep connection between school and home.

“We know that there’s more responsibility now on our parents to be a part of the teaching and learning process,” Ferebee said. “And we want them to be equipped, and we want them to feel comfortable, and we want them to be confident.”

Parent University” will cover what learning is going to look like, what online tools will look like, “and other information that families have expressed to us are important to prepare their children for a successful experience to start their school year,” Ferebee said.

Sessions will be recorded and available to be reviewed later on YouTube.

The sessions are interactive and include subtitles. Families are able to communicate with hosts and others through the platform’s chat feature.

“So, there can be questions and answers based on the topic that is being discussed for that session,” Ferebee said.

“We see a lot of beauty in parents sharing their own learnings and questions with the group, and we also share responses,” he added. “So, we choose the topics based on the feedback and input from families that we believe are most important to them, and we create very engaging conversations that are informal for families.”

Sessions preparing for the new school year have been better attended virtually than they had been previously in person, Ferebee said. About 1,000 families signed up to attend Tuesday’s virtual session.

You can find upcoming scheduled topics and sign up to attend by scrolling down the page here.

“If you don’t have technology, we want you to tell us by going to our survey, which is DCPS.tech/survey,” Ferebee said. “Or, families can contact their school to let us know they need a device to operate our platforms for learning to start the school year, or if they need support with internet access for high-speed internet.”

The new school year in D.C. begins Aug. 31.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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