We continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and navigate new obstacles this situation presents as we support our students, their families, and our partners. We want to share an update on how we’ve adjusted our programming to keep our community healthy and remaining committed to our mission.
When Indiana’s stay-at-home order hit in March, our staff quickly reconfigured our programs to ensure that our students and families were being supported through the following ways:
- Collaborated with school social workers to call the parents of students in our program to update them on school closings, connect them to free food resources, and support their questions.
- Connected with the IPS McKinney-Vento Liaison to assess which students impacted by homelessness in the school system had access to internet and technology and which did not.
- Created and distributed grade-level aligned educational resource packets for PreK – 6th grade students to all shelter partners.
- Filled backpacks with necessary school supplies for school partners. These backpacks were distributed with tablets to support at home learning for families.
- Individual text or phone call outreach to families to stay up to date on projects the kids are working on and address any needs that arise.
- Developed virtual tutoring opportunities for our staff to remain connected to our kiddos.
- Shifted our summer programming to provide a low-contact literacy and enrichment program that allowed students to work with School on Wheels staff virtually throughout the summer program dates. This program was expanded to include three additional partner sites in addition to the two partner sites we traditionally offer our summer program services to.
During a typical school year, over 440 volunteer tutors help us provide thousands of hours of tutoring and academic support to children impacted by homelessness. In an effort to preserve the health and safety of our volunteers, students, School on Wheels staff, and staff at our partner sites, we will not be utilizing volunteers in person during the 2020 Fall Semester. We are currently working with each of our 17 partner sites to determine how our staff will support students using a combination of physically distant and remote support facilitated by our full and part-time staff members.
Virtual volunteer opportunities are being developed for our existing volunteer tutors to ensure we have the capacity to provide our services to as many students as possible during this school year. We will provide more information to all volunteers regarding this opportunity by mid-September.
If you are currently in the application process or interested in applying, please be patient as we expect some delays in completing training with new volunteers. Due to limited availability, we may not have virtual volunteer opportunities for new tutors during the Fall Semester. However, we will be in touch with those who have recently applied should any opportunities arise.
Here’s how you can continue to help and stay involved with School on Wheels:
Support our work and help us provide necessary resources to help keep our student connected remotely with a one time or recurring donation.
Tell Others about School on Wheels
Follow us on social media to stay up to date on student stories, educational resources, and additional ways the community can support us. When you share our stories, you engage others and build awareness about child homelessness and how we can end it together.