Dennis Brown has seen a lot in his 20 years as a teacher, but never something like this.
With school districts around the state closed until further notice, students are missing out on valuable learning time. This presents a host of issues for students, hundreds of thousands of whom rely on public schools not only for education, but for meals.
As education officials scramble to deal with the cascading effects of the coronavirus pandemic, some temporary solutions have been found.
For example, families can search for locations serving meals in their district through the Michigan Department of Education’s Food Service Program at www.mcgi.state.mi.us/schoolnutrition.
On March 20, though, the MDOE announced that online instruction won’t count toward required annual instructional time due to state law. Many students don’t have access to the necessary technology. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she was “dismayed” by the decision, which raises a slew of questions about how Michigan’s public school students will finish the academic year.
“I was just sitting thinking about if there’s anything I can do,” Brown said. “So I reached out to Downriver to see if I could help. I love teaching and I felt like it was the right thing to do.
“I didn’t realize the response I was going to get.”
A Facebook group — Mr. Brown’s Math Tutoring — created by Brown surpassed 100 members soon after he posted to the social media site asking if folks might be interested in live lessons during the statewide lockdown.
“Originally, I put it out there as just doing one lesson a day,” he said. “Then I got a ton of feedback. I’m a middle school math teacher so that was really the general area that I was going to do lessons on. After all the feedback, I tried to recruit some teachers (for other subjects and grade levels).”
Brown teaches special education at Wilson Middle School in Wyandotte and lives in Trenton with his family. His 12-year-old son, Mason, is following in his dad’s footsteps, launching an online storytelling group where he and friends read live to younger kids on Facebook Live at 7:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The first day of Mr. Brown’s Math Tutoring was March 23, with four live sessions targeted to elementary, middle and high school students. Topics ranged from addition to multiplication to Pythagorean theorem. Students can interact with Brown on the Google Meet platform he’s using for the lessons.
The latest information can be found at bit.ly/2UdXWIa or by typing “Mr. Brown’s Math Tutoring” into the Facebook search bar. Brown is also posting various third-party resources to the page.
Though he said the turnout for the initial sessions was lower than expected, Brown expressed a willingness to adapt to the needs of students in the community. He said he’ll vary the number of lessons per day and shift content depending on requests.
Brown, whose wife works at a hospital, said he’s “just doing (his) part.”
“Kids are missing out on things at school,” he said. “The socialization, the meals. I know a lot of districts are providing (the latter) now, but that’s something that stings to think about.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to normalcy. Getting back to teaching and doing what I love. I miss it.”
- Education notebook – Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
- California – Ravenwoode: Offering appreciation to health, education officials – Lake County News
- Education News – Texarkana Gazette
- US Department of Education Releases “COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs” | US – U.S. Department of Education
- The more you learn, the more you earn: education and poverty alleviation in Thailand – UN News
- Dep’t of Education issues emergency order waiving test requirement for seniors, series of adjustments – Florida Politics
- D.C. mayor proposes boost in education spending as she calls on schools to fully reopen in the fall – The Washington Post
- Faculty invited to apply to General Education Scholar Program | Penn State University – Penn State News
- US Department of Education Announces More Biden-Harris Appointees | US – U.S. Department of Education