The Public Education Foundation (The Foundation) is proud to transform its Family Learning Program to a virtual format to support families during distance learning and help close the digital divide. 

Three cohorts of families are now participating in a three-week virtual program to learn how to support student learning at home, and also how to work with their children on social-emotional concerns that are increasingly occurring as students learn at home.

Toyota Financial Services provided The Foundation with initial seed money to pilot the transformed  virtual Family Learning Program, and Bank of America and the City of Las Vegas, through their Community Development Block Grant, stepped in to ensure the program could continue throughout the year. 

“Shortly after school buildings closed, we heard from alumni of our Family Learning Program that they weren’t comfortable with technology, and they were struggling to find resources in their native language,” said Judi Steele, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Public Education Foundation. 

The Foundation’s staff worked throughout the spring and summer to determine what technology skills parents needed most, and what concerns they were hearing from their students as they participated in remote learning. 

This is a top priority for The Foundation because often low-income families have the least access to devices and reliable internet for children to participate in school, which could widen the opportunity gap throughout our community. The Foundation is providing parents with skills so they can help their children access online learning.

“Throughout the spring and summer, our staff worked with our Family Learning Program alumni to develop a revised curriculum that meets parents’ needs and also addresses the increased social-emotional needs of our students,” Steele said.

The funding received from Bank of America will provide 180 families with the skills and resources they need to serve as effective “co-teachers” for their children at home. 

“COVID-19 has created challenges but also opportunities for innovation, especially around distance learning for underserved households and communities of color disproportionately impacted by pandemic,” said Bank of America Las Vegas Market President Al Welch. “Investing in The Foundation’s virtual Family Learning Program closes the digital divide many households face by providing parents – especially those using this technology for the first time – with the resources needed to help their children successfully learn from home.”

The virtual Family Learning Program is adaptable, offered in English and Spanish, and at different times throughout the day. This is a three-week course with six, 90-minute modules, and each cohort will consist of 15-30 parents.