Detroit Regional Chamber > DPSCD: Keeping Students Engaged and Learning During COVID-19

DPSCD: Keeping Students Engaged and Learning During COVID-19

April 8, 2020
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Currently, all Michigan school districts are closed for the remainder of the school year to comply with state orders. For Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), this poses the risk of students falling further behind in the curriculum.

DPSCD Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti addressed concerns and questions in a Detroit Regional Chamber Tele-Town Hall with Chief Operating Officer Tammy Carnrike. The pair discussed how the school district plans to address the crisis and the value of learning at home for kids.

Virtual and Remote Learning for Students 

DPSCD is making virtual learning possible for students in partnership with DTE Energy and Quicken Loans to supply each family with a tablet and internet access for the next six months. Students would have access to video lessons and assignments online, explained Vitti.

“We’re not looking at it just as a short-term solution,” said Vitti. “We’re thinking about how we make this sustainable to allow internet access to be wider and broader beyond just six months.”

For now, many Detroit students are left without access to online learning. In response, the district is handing out learning packets at 17 food distribution sites in the city.

Vitti looks at the situation through an optimistic lens. When students return to school after a traumatic occurrence such as a natural disaster, he explained, there’s a greater level of engagement and enthusiasm.

“There’s this fresh sense of energy, this re-invigorated purpose,” said Vitti. “I do believe that the sense of urgency could actually lead to more intensified maximization of learning when we come back face to face, hopefully in the fall.”

How Parents Can Encourage Learning at Home 

Keeping up with learning remotely is important for students, and can help manage anxiety during the crisis, said Vitti. For DPSCD students, this means keeping up with the packets schools are distributing. At a minimum, children should read one to two hours a day, continued Vitti.

Parents should also encourage kids to interact with what they are reading by keeping a journal and engaging them with questions like:

  • What did you read?
  • What did you think about what you read? Did you agree? Did you disagree?
  • How is this book different than the book you just read?
  • How does this book tie to what’s happening in the world today?

Reading, writing, and oral skills are critical for a child’s development, Vitti noted.

Related: Resources for Parents with Kids at Home

Related: 7 Homeschooling Items for Your At-Home Classroom