Helping Parents Manage Virtual Schooling

A Grant From the COVID-19 Priority Fund Supports the Urban League’s Parent Instructional Support Program

Urban League logo

“I don't know how to help my children.”

The Urban League of Greater Madison heard this from many parents who were confronting the possibility of remote learning this fall. So when the Madison Metropolitan School District announced that it would start the school year with 100% virtual education, the Urban League knew it needed to find a way to help parents.

The COVID–19 pandemic already had resulted in unprecedented disruption to education for children in Dane County, and the challenges faced by many families with facilitating online learning threaten to widen the area’s already too-wide racial achievement gap.

Parents (and, often, grandparents) are now expected to be teaching assistants and technology troubleshooters. They are expected to monitor their child’s progress throughout the day and become proficient in the use of multiple technology platforms, all while holding down a job. Even the most well-resourced and tech-savvy parents are frustrated and overwhelmed. For low-income households, single parents, and other under-resourced parents these difficulties are compounded.

To help, the Urban League is leveraging its longstanding presence in the schools and connections to youth and families to support parents and grandparents navigate virtual learning through its Parent Instructional Support Program, supported by a $50,000 grant from Madison Community Foundation.

By offering a combination of virtual events, a support hotline, office hours, and an online library of resources, the Urban League’s program provides help for parents who are struggling with technical issues or looking for ideas to help support their children and get them engaged in virtual learning.

“The training was very helpful,” one parent shared. “It provided information to not only know what to expect, but who to contact if I experienced any challenges.”

Through the Parent Instructional Support Program, the Urban League hopes to increase the number of families that are able to engage successfully with school-based technology. During the program’s first 30 days it served 100 families, and their goal is to expand that to 500 families.

We would love to connect with you! Get our newsletters.