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Leon County Schools helps students bridge the ‘homework gap’

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Foundation for Leon County Schools is working to fill the “homework gap,” providing a new e-learning coach to help kids and their families with digital classes.

The coach will train parents and families on how to get online and navigate school platforms.

Leon County Schools will receive $62,000 from the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations over the next two years to fund the program. LCS is one of six districts in the state receiving this funding, which comes from a $500,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

“The ‘homework gap’ of availability to be online, to adequately do homework or be connected at home existed before. Now we’re finding in this school year that schools are expecting families to engage and know what’s going on,” said Mary Chance, CEO of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations.

Chance says many district have expanded access by providing devices and internet access, but the third piece of the puzzle was still missing.

“They needed support. They needed devices and they needed and they needed the connection, but they also needed some ongoing support and that’s where this program steps in,” said Chance.

The district learned at the beginning of the pandemic this was a huge need for families in Leon County, for those who didn’t have internet access. The foundation says they still get calls everyday from schools and families that need help.

The groups say that while many students are back in the classroom, they’re still expected to engage with and complete online work. The new e-learning coach will help families navigate those programs..

“If they don’t have internet it doesn’t help them a whole lot. It’s sort of like giving somebody a car and not giving them the keys. So we’re going to give them the keys to make sure they have everything they need to be successful,” said Eric Clark, executive director for the Foundation for Leon County Schools.

Last year, LCS provided each student with a Chromebook computer. They say this new program is step two.

“On Friday afternoon, this family that has no internet service, they have no telephone or anything, they will have the ability to get on the internet,” said Clark.

This is a brand new position, but the foundation says they already have a family seeking help. The foundation says most of the help will go through referrals.

The FLCS says it’s currently helping 300 families stay connected to the internet..

They’ll be working with the school district in the coming weeks to identify where help is needed the most.

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