NewsGetting Back to School


School, Stress and a Pandemic: Making it all work

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 20:22:54-04

PHOENIX — With uncertainty surrounding the school year and a turn to distance learning, some families are having to find ways to make it all work.

One Valley mother told ABC15, her kids, and a few others, gather in a small group twice a week and get help from a tutor.

"They'll do their online instruction during the day and then in the evening, a certified teacher-tutor will come over and just augment the instruction," said Katey McPherson, who has four kids between the ages of 11 and 13. "They'll get that social interaction, but they'll also get the refinement of making sure that the foundational skills are going forward."

A Valley tutor told ABC15 there has been a pickup in call volume.

"We see a lot of panicked parents right now," said Candace Heiken, owner of Lively Minds Tutoring. "A lot of panicked parents."

Heiken said she has rolled out various programs to try and accommodate the need and varying circumstances, including a boot camp and incorporating community learning circles.

"The community learning circles are when a family has a group of students that they would like to have work together in a specific content area," Heiken explained. "We're getting the most requests on that for math."

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley are also working to help students who need a place to go, and distance learn, as schools kick back into gear.

"This is the week where we're starting to have parents really call and say, 'what do I do with my child?'" said Marcia Mintz, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley.

Mintz told ABC15 they are transforming 18 of their sites into virtual learning centers.

"We'll be creating socially-distanced safe places for them to bring their device from their school and headsets and a mask and come to our centers," she said. "Our staff will help them, make sure they don't have technical challenges."

Interested families need to call and register for the program, which is open throughout the day, and starts at $60/week.

The organization is working to accommodate as many families as possible during the challenging situation with schools, with many on a limited income to find alternative solutions.

"Sixty percent of the families we serve are headed by a single head-of-household," Mintz said. "A single parent just doesn't have that extra disposable income."