When the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to transition to virtual learning, parents across the United States suddenly needed to supervise their children full-time as they learned from home. Families without computers or Internet access found it difficult to stay engaged, and nearly 40% of students nationwide failed to attend a single online class between March and June 2020.
Trenton Public Schools tackled the “digital divide,” leading outreach efforts to ensure every student has a Chromebook with an internet connection. This Fall, the district strengthened its efforts, providing an online hub for parents learning new technologies like Google Classroom. As part of its Every Day Matters attendance campaign, the district’s Parent Coordinator Denise Kreiss and The College of New Jersey’s Connect Trenton Coordinator Luke Thompson began organizing the Parent Connections workshop series. In each session, community providers offer expertise to parents and families as they navigate virtual instruction and support the social-emotional wellness of their children.
Without the digital connection, a mother of a local Trenton student wouldn’t have been able to join the workshop from her home country of Jamaica. Through Zoom, Kreiss and Thompson were able to help the mother access the school’s parent portal so she can keep an eye her son’s grades and attendance – all the way across the Caribbean.
To learn more about Trenton Public Schools’ ongoing Parent Connections series, visit trentonk12.org. To learn more about Connect Trenton, a school-community partnership offered through The College of New Jersey’s Capital City Youth Violence Coalition, visit connecttrenton.org.
Both Trenton Public Schools and The College of New Jersey are members of the All Kids Thrive Initiative of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, which funds data-driven attendance initiatives in schools throughout Mercer County. PACF’s goal is to strengthen and insulate the educational pipeline so “all kids thrive from birth to 25.” To learn more about the All Kids Thrive Initiative, visit pacf.org.