IPS will launch at-home learning plan on Thursday to keep education on track

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — School buildings may be shut down, but students can’t afford to take a break.

Districts are having to find a new normal. Indianapolis Public Schools announced at-home learning plan and efforts ahead of Thursday’s launch.

It’s in order to keep students on track, with 30,000 elementary, middle and high schoolers.

“We’re suffering just like every other family,” said parent, Angela Cordova.

Cordova is a mother to four children and she never thought this would be her reality. She’s balancing her career and guiding her children through schoolwork.

“With the pandemic, I’m working more than I was before, it’s just unfortunate that my kids have to pay the price in their education,” Cordova added.

Indianapolis Public School Superintendent, Aleesia Johnson says the district is doing what they can do eliminate that impact.

“This was built really from the ground up,” said Johnson.

Starting Thursday, Kindergarten through 8th graders will receive paper and pencil materials to their homes by mail, while 9th through 12th graders will take part in e-learning.

“Is it going to look the same way it will look if students were in a classroom with a licensed teacher, instructing them? No, that’s not possible in the exact same way that it was when we were all physically together,” Johnson explained.

The district collected 6,000 Chromebooks from classrooms and are sending them families, but what about those without Wi-Fi?

“We’ve called every single high school student and family to ask, do you have a device, do you have reliable internet access, and so we know those needs are substantial and significant,” Johnson added there’s a real gap.

As their district survey found 40 percent of homes do not have reliable internet access. IPS received a donation to purchase 1,500 mobile hotspot devices to distribute to families to help and look to purchase more.

“We have to extend grace to one another; I think you have to figure out what the best rhythm is for your family,” said Johnson, “It may look like we’re going to do 60 minutes in the morning, and maybe another hour in the afternoon.”

As students transition from the classroom to their living room, studies will take place Tuesday through Thursday every week. For parents like Cordova, this brings on new challenges.

“That’s going to affect them going into the next grade,” said Cordova.

Concerns that IPS is making top priority as they work to find out what the future holds.

“How do we prepare for what we believe will likely still be some potential interruptions or a new normal?” Johnson stated, “At this point, we don’t even know when the start of a school year will be or what it will look like, what it has before. So, I think those are all big question marks for us.”

Monday’s and Friday’s will be utilized by teachers for planning and grading purposes. Families will still be able to access teachers by videos, virtual office hours and weekly check-ins.

As for the last day of remote learning or the last day of school that’s unknown, however, IPS anticipates this will continue through the month of May.

Click here to visit the IPS website, to stay up to date with the latest developments.

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