October 2, 2023

Leon County Schools Foundation to hire e-learning coaches to close ‘homework gap’

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – The Foundation for Leon County Schools will hire e-learning coaches to close the “homework gap” for students who lack adequate broadband access and support, according to a press release.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is providing a two-year, $500,000 grant for six Florida school districts to address the digital divide in those areas. The districts include Leon, Citrus, Plam Beach, Pinellas and St. Johns.

The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations says the coronavirus pandemic brought more attention to this issue.

“It’s clear that our schools have found ways of doing things that require digital literacy, skills and support,” said Mary Chance, CEO of the Consortium. “The ‘homework gap’ existed pre-pandemic and now most schools have a greater expectation that students can effectively navigate online learning and caregivers can engage with teachers through online conferences and learning platforms.”

The Foundation for Leon County Schools will receive $62,767 in grant money over two years. That money will go towards hiring or contracting at least one e-learning coach to support students and families in navigating technology and resources related to e-learning. Coaches will also educate families on how to use equipment and digital resources for academic success.

The coaches will conduct assessments of technology and connectivity in homes, including the level of digital literacy students and parents have, the release says. Coaches will also teach parents and students the most efficient uses of computers and other devices, as well as tutorials on software.

The LCS Foundation will also use the grant money to identify families in need of these resources and to provide computers.

“At the Kellogg Foundation, we work to remove barriers so that families and students have equitable learning opportunities that meet their needs,” said Arianna Cisneros, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “The Consortium’s work to close the digital divide among vulnerable students ensures that all children have the opportunity to thrive.”

During the 2020-21 school year, LCS started providing Chromebooks to all students for remote learning access. On top of that, the Foundation for Leon County Schools gave WiFi hotspots and monthly payments to families without internet access.

“But access was only part of the solution. Now, the Foundation can do even more to support families who need it most,” the release says.

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