A new website from the University of Virginia aims to help connect families with resources and tools to use during virtual learning.
UVa’s Equity Center, Madison House and Youth-Nex, a research center at the Curry School of Education and Human Development, teamed up to launch cvilleeducationequity.com this week. The Charlottesville Education Equity site includes information about virtual learning, where families can get food, after-school care and mental health resources. Volunteers and interested community members can find opportunities on the site of where to give their time or funds.
“We’re really thinking about how we can support families and educators and ensure that we are really bridging the gap between home and school and not letting the kids fall apart,” said Sherica Jones-Lewis, director of community research at the Equity Center. “Our specific focus was on ensuring that we’re not letting that achievement gap widen because kids don’t have access to what they need in order to attend virtual school.”
Jones-Lewis said that despite the variety of resources available, families have to know where to look in order to access them. She hoped that by pulling together the resources, the website can serve as a good starting place.
Jones-Lewis said that a concern for her as the schools start online is that people with means are going to be able to afford to work from home and are able to assist their own children.
“Because at some point, if a kid does have someone to walk them through, and then another kid doesn’t, that’s where the gap really widens,” she said.
Madison House, which typically provides volunteers to work in the schools during the year, is offering virtual tutoring for families, including music and art lessons. Tutoring information is available through the central website.
Information will continue to be added to the website, Jones-Lewis said.
“We are just really seeking to be a help, so no suggestion is a bad one,” she said. “We will take it and try to incorporate it.”