CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – As schools in Iowa remain closed until at least April 12, school districts statewide have put resources in place for families to help them keep their students engaged in learning.
Schools in Iowa cannot tax online learning due to equity concerns. However, public school districts do offer voluntary learning activities, but these should be as accessible as possible for students with disabilities and students whose first language is not English.
KWWL News 7 asked you, our viewers, what challenges you face and what parents have done to continue their children’s education.
From arts and crafts to virtual Youtube field trips and resources like Challenge to Challenge Eastern Iowa, parents get creative when it comes to keeping their children engaged in learning.
However, some parents who still have to work want additional guidance.
Grant Wood Area Education Agency chief administrator John Speer said he was aiming for critical thinking activities.
âWe know that when students leave school in May and come back in August, there is a summer slippage in most students. And that, I think it could be a type of experience similar to that. here, “said Speer.
That’s why Grant Wood and districts like Cedar Rapids Community Schools have set up online resource centers for all grade levels.
One of Grant Wood’s resources is a Facebook page called The carpooling routewith advice and suggestions for activities to do with the students.
The Cedar Rapids Community School District has created a landing page with all the food and nutrition information for the learning activities. (Access this page, here)
âAnything parents can do to actively engage their students in thinking, critical thinking, reading, writing, math, at home, will help limit the amount they can lose,â said Speer .
Cedar Rapids Community School’s communications director Akwi Nji said the district has also included mental health resources to help parents as much as possible.
“We don’t want parents to suddenly feel responsible for home schooling their children, that’s not what we want. We want them to make sure they keep their children and families safe. safety and good health is the number one priority, “says Nji.
One of the biggest challenges for districts is keeping all resources accessible to everyone, a mandate of the Iowa Department of Education.
The IDE sent out advice to districts that said, âPublishing a list of resources that can be used would be considered an educational opportunity as no instruction is provided. If you publish a list of resources, consider whether it is universally designed to be accessible to everyone. families and students. For example, a reading list should include books for all levels of readers. Websites that students and parents can access should be complemented by sites accessible to people with disabilities, and also available in other languages. Districts are encouraged to add contact information for families who may need additional supports. “
âThey are really worried about fairness. First, do all the students have the equipment at home to do it and second, do they have access to the Internet,â Speer said.
Concerns over internet access is another reason some districts are also pushing hard to provide paper documents to meal sites that start next week.
âSo the number one priority really started on Monday, it’s just the meals. After that, we’ll figure out the logistics, perhaps to include printed materials with these meals that the students can take home, âNji said.
Meal pickup sites will begin Monday for CRCSDs for any child 18 and under.
Meal sites will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and families will be able to enjoy two meals, one breakfast and one hot lunch.
Pickup sites include:
- Arthur, Grant, Grant Wood, Hoover, Johnson, Taylor, Wright, Roosevelt and Nixon (addresses can be found here)
- More meal sites can be found via Grant Wood, here
âIt doesn’t matter if you live in the neighborhood, or if you are listed openly or what neighborhood you frequent. If you go to a restaurant site, you can have food, you don’t have to be involved in the free. reduced food program, âSpeer said.
The CRCSD has also partnered with The Gazette to provide learning activities in the Penny Saver.
Speer and Nji said districts are still waiting for more advice from the Iowa Department of Education on what is and is not acceptable to provide to students and what accommodations need to be met.
If you have a child with a disability, the MNI tells you to try and keep a consistent schedule.
Class time doesn’t need to be caught up according to Governor Kim Reynolds.
The Linn Mar Community School District has also offered learning activities on their website, these can be found here.
- News and updates from the CRCSD, here
- Resources of the CRCSD learning plan, here
- Food and nutritional resources of the CRCSD, here
- CRCSD health services, here
The Marion Independent School District will also be opening meal pickup sites next week. information about this can be found here.