How to help vulnerable students who are struggling with remote learning

Nov 21, 2020, 7:45 AM | Updated: 7:46 am

If your child has special needs or is really struggling with remote learning right now, is there help available? How are schools performing for the children who are the most vulnerable? Arik Korman is the communications director for the nonprofit advocacy group League of Education Voters, which is working to improve education for public school students.

“First of all, let me say that I’m a parent of a student who needs special education services, so I see it firsthand with my sixth grader, and there’s specific groups that aren’t doing as well as other students, like students who receive special education services, students who are learning English, students who are in foster care, students living in poverty, and students who are experiencing homelessness,” Korman told KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show.

“And some of these issues involve access to technology, knowing how to get to the curriculum once it is online, and then language issues, of course,” he added. “And then having to deal with issues like emotional regulation and just understanding, like what should I do first? They call that ‘executive function,’ knowing how to prioritize and get assignments done. So all of these things are difficult for certain student groups. In fact, it’s quite a large percentage, really.”

The absence of a teacher working directly in-person with a student makes it difficult for understanding, learning, and retention, Korman says.

“This is happening because if you’re looking at remote learning, you can’t have somebody physically with a student,” he said. “For example, my son, he’s really smart, but he doesn’t track conversations very well sometimes, especially in a remote situation. So either I have to sit with him, or my wife has to sit with him. But if there’s nobody there physically sitting with him, he’ll miss 90% of what the teachers are saying.”

How the latest lockdown is impacting people already struggling to get by

“So that’s just one example of why it’s important for students to get help, although that’s really difficult because, again, we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” Korman added. “It’s not safe to have students in the building right now.”

Are there options for parents who are going through the same thing?

“Really, what we need is a way to give parents tutoring, for example, if there’s a way to do that,” he said. “And a lot of this will have to be done after we can get students back into buildings. Because, again, for students like my son, who need somebody physically with them, whatever you do online is really hard.”

“One thing we can do now, though, is give parents resources on how to help their kids manage what they’re feeling,” he added. “We call that social emotional learning because this is a tough time for kids, and their parents.”

WA GOP lawmaker calls for special session, ‘cooperation’ to find COVID solutions

Before the pandemic and remote learning, Korman explains that kids would go to school and have the stress of learning the curriculum and “all the things that cause a lot of stress at school,” but then home would be their safe haven at the end of the day.

“But now home is where they’re trying to deal with a very tough situation in school and that’s not a haven for them anymore,” he said. “So that’s why the mental health supports, and knowing how to kind of navigate this time, is super important. Any resources we can give would be helpful for that, and then helping kids prioritize.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

pierce county pride...

Frank Sumrall

Pierce Co. Council member to avoid chambers while Pride Flag is present

Pierce County Councilmember Amy Cruver says she will refuse to sit in the county's council chambers while a pride flag flies overhead.

8 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: GEE and Baby GEE

A very special guest joined the Gee and Ursula Show: Gee Jr.! It’s fair to say that like father, like son. Watch Gee Jr. answer questions about his dad, life, and more! Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show every weekday at 9am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM Listen to KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or […]

14 days ago

Image: From left, Heather Bosch, Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin of KIRO Newsradio share some laughs du...

Steve Coogan

Peace out! Malfunction on ‘Gee and Ursula’ leads to lots of laughs

Sometimes, equipment malfunctions on shows like "Gee and Ursula" can lead to a few minutes of chaos and a fun, unique moment.

25 days ago

newcastle mayor...

Frank Sumrall

Gee Scott: Newcastle mayor’s comments ‘are awful, what he represents is awful’

Newcastle Mayor Robert Clark fired off a plethora of controversial comments about the local LGBTQ+ community and reparations during a city council meeting.

27 days ago

seattle spd lawsuit...

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Being gay has no bearing on allegations against former SPD Chief Diaz

In his first interview since he stepped down as the city's top cop, former SPD Chief Adrian Diaz publicly came out as gay.

29 days ago

rahr police...

Frank Sumrall

Interim SPD Chief Rahr on police-city relations: ‘Can we please hit the reset button?’

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell appointed Sue Rahr as the city's interim police chief after removing Adrian Diaz from the role due to accumulating allegations.

1 month ago

How to help vulnerable students who are struggling with remote learning