Flint, MI – Following a shift in leadership, Flint Community Schools are rolling out a new, internet-based learning approach, and checking in with families to see what they need beyond academic help.

“Students and families are being contacted twice each week, at minimum—once by a teacher for learning support, and once by a Wellness Team member for social emotional support,” Interim Superintendent Anita Steward said. “Flint Community Schools will also work to provide learning activities aligned to the unique needs of each student, including those who require English Language Learning services, Individualized Education Plans, and 504 plans.”

The online learning program is in response to the state’s stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The distance learning plan, according to the school board, uses a three-tier “blended learning” approach for kindergarten through eighth-grade students.

For students who already have electronic devices and internet at home, they will continue using the same online platform they were using prior to this. Those who have a device and no internet can sign up for up to 60 days free internet, courtesy of Xfinity and AT&T. Families can call those service providers for internet access.

Students with no device or internet will be provided with “learning packets,” as well as an internet hotspot and an electronic device. Learning packets, according to interim superintendent Anita Steward, will contain materials for reading, math, social studies and/or science. Steward took over as interim superintendent after Superintendent Derrick Lopez was placed on leave April 15.

Those who have trouble accessing online learning packets will be provided hard copies, available for pick-up at their local school, one day each week.

Teachers began reaching out to families two weeks ago. The plan will be in effect, for now, until the end of the 2019-20 school year.

Partners including Crim Fitness Foundation and YouthQuest Partners are facilitating a daily Mindfulness video, and/or physical education activity for students, available through the district’s website, alongside a daily story hour. The story hour will be accessible through the website as well as various outlets like Facebook and Youtube.

Throughout the week, students can utilize various web-based communication tools like ClassDojo, phone calls, email, and other methods to chat with instructors during office hours for real-time feedback and assistance. Parents can contact counselors and social workers via email if they have any concerns about their child that need be addressed.

“During these challenging times, we will continue to explore opportunities to ensure our students have access to learning materials necessary for their academic growth and seek out additional partnerships to benefit the children we are privileged to serve,” Steward said.

Ramona Watson is a 23-year-old Flint native with a love for art, culture, and the written word, as well as a keen interest in learning more about Flint not only as a city but as a community. Ramona graduated...