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By Felecia Sheffield PhD and Shameeka T. Meredith
Approximately 56.6 million students attended elementary and secondary school in the United States in 2019. With the current COVID-19 global pandemic, school districts across the nation made the tough decision to close schools and move to online classes due to public health and safety concerns. Parents and caregivers have been charged with stepping into a more active role of facilitating their child’s educational learning. Below are a few educational tips, strategies and resources for parents.
1. Ensure that student is participating in all required online activities including instructional time and any additional online chats’ participation.
2. Discuss with teachers your child’s ongoing academic progress including completion of homework assignments, projects and exam scores.
3. Parents are recommended to supplement their child’s learning with additional academic enrichment activities including educational websites, at home science projects or fun learning games.
4. Parents should make sure to create an at home learning environment to help their child focus including having a quiet place away from distractions, routine homework and study times and learning materials including a computer/laptop, textbooks, etc.
5. For students who are receiving exceptional student education (ESE) services, are under an IEP or 504 plan, should follow-up with the school counselor or school psychologist to determine if there are any required pending updates or meetings required prior to the end of the school year.
6. If your child was undergoing a psychoeducational evaluation for determination of special education services, please follow-up with school personnel for a status report and to see if the school psychologist may be conducting testing over the summer.
7. If your child was unable to start his/her evaluation prior to school closing, discuss with school staff if it is possible for your child to have a private psychoeducational evaluation completed if you are very concerned about the potential delay at the start of the next school year. Please be mindful that a private psychoeducational evaluation may be at your own expense and the school does not have to accept the results or recommendations. Additionally, if submitted to the school it becomes a part of your child’s educational record. Please take all of the above into consideration before spending hundreds of dollars for a private evaluation.
8. If you would like to pursue a private psychoeducational evaluation, consider a more affordable alternative of having the evaluation conducted at a nearby university that has a university-based clinic with graduate students who can complete the testing under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist or certified school psychologist.
9. Students finishing their senior year and planning to attend college in the fall, should contact their selected college/university to determine if classes will start on time as previously outlined.
10. Graduating students already admitted to college for 2020-2021, should follow-up on the status of their financial aid including any awarded grants, scholarships or G.I. bill disbursements.
Abcmouse- subscription-based digital education program for children ages 2-8.
BrainPOP- Animated educational sites for kids
Discovery Education- standards-based digital curriculum resources for K-12 classrooms worldwide
Funbrain- online educational games for kids
Khan Academy- offers practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard for self-paced learning
PhET Simulations- provides free fun interactive math and science simulations
Scholastic- offers books, literacy resources and educational solutions for kids
Scistarter- connects people to citizen science projects, scientists and resources
Starfall- reading, phonics, and math educational games and activities for kids in preschool through 2nd grade
Tutor.com/military- The program provides on-demand academic support 24/7 online in more than 100 subjects for grades kindergarten through college students. Now available at no cost to any adult or child in a DoD civilian or Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve or Wounded Warrior military family.
FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS:
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)-studentaid.gov
FastWeb- online college scholarship search provider
“20 Tips for Applying for College Scholarship”, Felecia D. Sheffield, PhD, EzineArticles.com
“Minimizing Summer Learning Loss- 5 Tips for Parents”, Felecia D. Sheffield & Shameeka T. Meredith, ezinerarticles.com
Parent Center Hub, Center for Parent Information and Resources- “All About the IEP”
Parent Center Hub, Center for Parent Information and Resources- “Developing Your Child’s IEP”
U.S. Department of Education, “A Guide to the Individualized Education Program”
Greatschools.org “A parent’s guide to Section 504 in public schools”
Additudemag.com “is an IEP or 504 Plan best for Your Child? How to Decide”
Copyright © 2020 Felecia D. Sheffield. PhD, HSP All Rights Reserved Worldwide in all Media.
Authors: Felecia Sheffield, PhD & Shameeka T. Meredith, Ed.S.
Dr. Sheffield is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with extensive clinical, treatment and program management experience with socioeconomically and ethnically diverse adults and youth. She consults domestically and internationally and has worked with non-profits, schools, hospitals, and clinics. Dr. Sheffield has written over three dozen parenting and self-help articles for the general public. Her volunteer endeavors include being a part of Science Cheerleaders a national non-profit 501 (c)3 organization comprised of current and former NFL/NBA professional cheerleaders with STEM degrees who engage, encourage, and empower kids and young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and math careers.
Shameeka Meredith, Ed.S., has over 20 years of experience in elementary education including in leadership roles. Ms. Meredith has a Specialist degree in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and a Master’s degree in Reading K-12. She specializes in teaching ESOL students, remediating low performing students and achieving academic gains with socio-economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse students.
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