Ecorse Public Schools opens hotline for parents, students struggling with technology

Students are going to school to learn their lessons in Ecorse, but it’s also the parents who are being schooled on the ins and outs of virtual learning.

District officials in Ecorse Public Schools had a feeling parents might need some assistance navigating through the Google Classroom platform while trying to assist their child.

They were right. Parents initially were given an option to have their child participate in face-to-face classroom learning, or attend virtually.

According to school Supt. Dr. Josha Tailson, about 30 percent of parents elected to have their child attend for in-school instruction. About 70 percent chose the online option. While students have only had a few days of instruction, a bit of frustration is showing already with some parents and students working online. In an effort to help those experiencing glitches, the district set up its own hotline, which is being staffed by a few information technology-savvy employees. “They have been getting 40 to 50 calls,” the superintendent said. Tailson said he and others are stepping up and helping assist parents and students with school issues. “It’s all hands on deck,” the superintendent said. The school held four technology meetings with parents after students were given Chromebooks for their lessons. As many as 20 parents participated in each of the training sessions. Tailson said the district is looking into holding more sessions if challenges continue. It seems clear to school officials that many parents who preferred online learning underestimated the complexity of the program. “A lot of people didn’t take this seriously,” the superintendent said. A few parents who picked up Chromebooks for the classes have already tried to give the computers back and switch from online to classroom instruction. Tailson said once the decision is made on how students will receive their instruction, a change can't be made until January. “You’ve got to figure it out now,” he said. The technology team has been able to keep up with all of the calls and address concerns because many people are complaining about the same problem. What is the biggest problem parents are experiencing? The superintendent said hands down the most common complaints have to do with passwords. All students had a password before taking the Chromebooks, but many of them either lost it or couldn't remember it by the time they were to log on for class. Homework, getting links and having codes to access various classes have all been stumbling blocks as well. There has been talk about putting together a questionnaire to find out if there are additional areas of assistance needed. Anyone who needs help can call the school’s hotline at 313-294-4790.

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