Parents and families have become superstars for our school system, working alongside teachers and principals to keep their children on track for success.
District leaders like Jen Greene Gast from Bastrop ISD in Texas are among the many dedicated educators who are helping meet the needs of students in-person and virtually this year by keeping parents in the loop.
Gast shares four tips that she used to take Bastrop’s virtual learning to new heights:
- Make sure families have proper access to technology. Gast scheduled technology pickup times that coincided with breakfast pickup for families to get everything they needed for virtual learning. With a limited number of hotspots, the district put hotspots on buses and sent those buses out into the community to provide internet access at various shared locations.
- Develop a virtual guide for parents. Gast created a parent guide for online learning with details on how to use their district’s single sign-on feature to log in to their child’s accounts including Istation. This guide also included access to a number of digital resources such as their online library. View Bastrop's parent access guides in English and Spanish.
- Share online resources that are easy to use throughout the day. Gast encouraged teachers to share resources like Istation’s Parent Playbook and the Red Cape Classroom video series with parents working at home with their children. Both of these online resources are created by educators/parents and guide parents on the best ways to structure a child's day, teach various skills, and more.
- Meet with parents regularly. Gast made a “first 20 days” document for her teachers to follow. Find a sample here. This document had built-in time for teachers to meet regularly with each family in their classroom. Building conference time into the curriculum allowed teachers to conference with families throughout the school year.
Mrs. Susana Valdivia from Lost Pines Elementary teaches students virtually.
For more information on how you can help families working virtually, visit Istation’s at-home blog topic.