This article was originally published on September 3, 2020 by MontcoToday.
Navigating the 2020-2021 school year is challenging. It’s hard to know if your school is teaching in-person or virtual, or what alternatives are available to traditional schooling.
The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth (TLC) put together this quick guide to help you better understand the options for your children.
Are Pennsylvania schools virtual or in-person due to COVID?
The decision is made by individual school districts, so you should look at your individual district’s website, but most public schools in Pennsylvania will be virtual in the Fall of 2020.
From an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “A growing number of school districts around Philadelphia are opting to begin the school year virtually — a shift that accelerated this past week, with boards all over the region approving and in some cases changing their plans on how to open in just a few weeks. West Chester, Upper Darby, and Colonial were among the districts that approved virtual openings, as did Haverford — reversing course just one week after saying it would try a hybrid plan.”
Many private and charter schools are choosing to open in-person following the Department of Health’s re-opening guidelines.
What are School Pods in Pennsylvania?
School pods are most often created by a group of parents who are looking for in-person education options for their children.
From an article on National School Choice Week: “Micro-schools, pods, pandemic pods, and learning pods all refer to the same concept, one that is pretty easy to understand: students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize. Usually, pods are formed when families in a neighborhood or vicinity bring children similar in age group together.”
School pods can be challenging in that they can be difficult to find, require coordination among multiple parents, a physical space to teach and the need to find a teacher.
What is a Virtual Learning Center in Pennsylvania?
While every Virtual Learning Center is different, they generally offer an environment for in-person learning for students who are enrolled in public or private schools, but are attending school virtually. For example, here is what the TLC Virtual Learning Center in Audubon, PA offers:
- A safe and secure environment – A safe, supervised space for students grades 6-12 to learn virtually
- In-person tutoring – Individual and small group tutoring with certified educators
- Consistency – Students remain enrolled in their school’s virtual learning program
- Support – Assistance with accessing lessons, accountability and supplemental instructions
- Affordability – TLC offers an affordable $60/day rate
- Flexibility – A schedule that meets each student’s needs with no long-term commitment
What in-person options are available for public school children in Pennsylvania?
For parents interested in keeping their child in public school but looking for in-person schooling options, the TLC Virtual Learning Center provides individual and small group on-site tutoring support for students in grades 6-12 who are enrolled in their school’s virtual learning program.
Their certified educators assist students with accessing all aspects of the online curriculum, including synchronous lessons, asynchronous lessons and any required virtual office hours.
When students are not actively engaged in the instruction provided by online teachers, the tutoring staff can provide them with supplemental instruction to help students develop background knowledge of unfamiliar topics and deepen understanding of previously taught concepts.
TLC’s tutors aim to bridge the gap between virtual learning and academic success. Their goal is to ensure that the students they serve feel encouraged to take risks and empowered to persevere when lessons are challenging, while also helping parents feel secure in their decision to choose virtual learning.
For more information about this program, visit TheLincolnCenter.com.