Northeast Indiana lawmakers: New tools can help students succeed despite COVID-19 challenges

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky and Jake Thompson  | Friday, August 14, 2020

STATEHOUSE (Aug. 14, 2020) – Area legislators said new resources are available to help students succeed, especially as COVID-19 complicates the start of the school year.

"Many of our students may need additional assistance after months of remote learning on top of summer break," said State Rep. Denny Zent (R-Angola). "These tools can help families support their children's education and keep them on track no matter how the school year begins."

Whether returning to school for in-person instruction, or participating in remote- or e-learning, Zent said the Indiana Department of Education offers online resources to start the school year strong. Parents can find information on internet access, providers of high-speed broadband at a reduced rate and how to qualify for a free computer, all by visiting doe.in.gov. Students can also access educational activities sorted by grade level and subject area, including writing prompts, a free e-library, physical education and art programs. This website also provides information on health and safety guidelines that families can review when students return to the classroom, including help with face covering guidelines.

According to State Rep. David Abbott (R-Rome City), IDOE partnered with Indiana Public Broadcast Stations in the spring to connect families to educational television programing and online resources aligned to Indiana's academic standards. He said these programs are still available and can be accessed at PBSLearningMedia.org. Parents can find their local station and TV schedule by visiting IPBS.org.

"This partnership is one more way parents can enhance their children's education," Abbott said. "Created with educator's input, PBS' resources include lesson plans, tools on specific topics or themes, support materials and much more.

For free help completing assignments and tutoring, students can turn to AskRose.org. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's AskRose Homework Help is a free math and science tutoring service for Hoosier students in grades 4-12. State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) said students can call 877-ASK-ROSE or chat live online with a tutor to work through homework assignments.

"AskRose helps students to understand questions and how to determine the answers on their own," Smaltz said. "Their process helps students retain the knowledge and learn the process for how to solve a problem, instead of just handing over the solution. Kids can call, email or chat online with a tutor, making it a simple process to get started."

Smaltz said schools and officials are launching the new school year with plans based on local COVID-19 data, and families should visit their local school websites for the most up-to-date information.

More resources and information can be found at doe.in.gov.

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 State Rep. David Abbott (R-Rome City) represents House District 82, which includes all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.

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 State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) represents House District 52, which includes all of DeKalb County, and portions of Steuben and Allen counties.

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 State Rep. Denny Zent (R-Angola) represents House District 51, which includes most of LaGrange and Steuben counties.

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