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Our Future Ready Story: Parents & Guardians Playing Pivotal Role in Virtual Learning
In his March 26 letter to the community, Superintendent of Schools, William O. George III, Ed. D., praised the remarkable virtual learning effort put forth by the school community during this unprecedented time.
In addition to students, teachers and staff, Dr. George applauded the work of district parents and guardians, who have been thrust into a large educational support role.
Damien Font, a third grade teacher at Middletown Village Elementary School, explained that the working relationship between teachers and parents is stronger than ever.
“I’ll be doing a small group lesson in a Google Meet, and when I see parents in the background I’ll ask them to lean in and join us. I need them to understand my goals so that if they need to work one-on-one with their student later on, they can. Our parents are helping to reinforce our lessons. They’re our co-teachers right now, and they’re doing an incredible job,” said Font.
One of those parents is Pamela Brett, who has elementary and middle-school aged children in the district.
Brett, an educational consultant both in and outside of New Jersey, said she is “completely blown away by how well prepared and organized” the roll out of the district’s virtual learning plan has been. She credited the technology experience her children have gained in their respective classrooms for the successful transition to Virtual Home Instruction, as well as the technical knowledge of the district’s teaching staff, which has enhanced the support she is able to provide her children.
(NOTE: Pictured in this photo is district music teacher Danielle Grubb and her family.)
“From my perspective, my children have been engaged with their teachers and classmates. The expectations were laid out calmly and clearly for them from the start. They developed their skills in the classroom and took that knowledge home with them. It’s helped my kids continue with business as usual, and I’ve been able to support them when they need it because of the instructional videos and materials created by their teachers,” said Brett.
Brett said the regular face time her children have with their principal, teachers and classmates through social media videos, instructional materials and Google Hangouts and Meets has helped keep them in a routine, allowing she and her husband the ability to schedule regular time for one-on-one instruction while working from home.
“If it’s an emergency, one of us will always be available to help, but we are able to have pretty structured schedules because the teachers are doing such a wonderful job engaging students, and making it fun for them. It’s inspiring to see the connection they are able to maintain with teachers and classmates in this environment. I think they’re also growing closer together as siblings because they’re interacting with one another and discussing schoolwork during the down time in the day,” added Brett.
Brett also noted the life skills her children are developing in this new virtual eduction setting.
“They’re learning to be patient, and to be problem solvers on their own. I’m seeing them become more self-reliant each day,” said Brett.
Font said he hopes parents will continue to communicate with their children’s teachers so that the working relationship will grow.
“It’s all about communication and understanding what the plan is,” said Font. “We need parents to communicate with us, to let us know if their child is having success or if they’re struggling. That way, we can work together to overcome any challenges students are experiencing. Parents are playing a pivotal role. They’re helping to facilitating our lessons. And we’ll continue to have success if we keep working together.”
For resources related to student health, safety and wellbeing, the free and reduced meal plan, and virtual learning, please follow the link.