Nonprofit works to assist students during pandemic

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– As the school year comes to a close, educators and families reflected on the challenges created by COVID-19.

The work hasn’t stopped for Communities in Schools of Michigan, a nonprofit group that brings outside resources into the classroom. Executive director Mallory DePrekel says they quickly shifted from their in-person approach during the pandemic.

“We opened our programs to be virtual and so our site coordinators have been connecting with their students,” DePrekel says, “doing case management all online and remote.”

She says their biggest goal is to fill in the gap between families and schools by helping with tutoring, after school activities and mentoring. DePrekel says the need for extra supplies and resources is bigger than ever.

“Not all families have the technology they need. We’ve had to give pencils to parents because they’ve been getting their pencils from school,” she says. “There’s just been this, I think, disconnect between schools and families because schools have been doing so much for families and families are now recognizing, like “Oh my goodness, I need to be able to feed these kids. I need to teach them.” Not all of our parents are even at that awareness level or ability level.””

With summer break just around the corner, DePrekel says there’s an added pressure to keep students on track.

“How do we get these kids who are gonna be three months behind of school already, add additional summer months behind on there, and then have them go up a grade? And so how do we balance that out, and how do we support the teachers in all of that, too?”

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