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Sunday, November 1, 2020

New to distance learning? GPA and Khan Academy would like to help

By Chanel R. Davis, Peacemaker Contributor / April 23, 2020

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Morgan Davis, a seventh grade student at Johnson Street Global Studies in High Point, is instructed online by her English teacher. Morgan is the daughter of Peacemaker writer Chanel Davis.
Photo by Chanel Davis/Carolina Peacemaker

Although students have been out of school for roughly a month now, it doesn’t look like they’ll be returning to a traditional classroom anytime soon. This challenge creates uncharted territory to say the least when it comes to Guilford County’s new district-wide online learning requirement. While school leaders and teachers are doing everything that they can to help students during this difficult time, parents are finding themselves in uncharted territory.

Guilford Parent Academy (GPA) is helping students in need by offering resources, including access to a live tutor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The agency works to improve student success by “engaging parents and involving them in their children’s education. According to its website, the parent academy strives to give parents the tools needed to assist their children” by hosting “family engagement sessions, workshops and activities” through online content.

Kimberly Funderburk, executive director at GPA, highlighted the program’s Brainfuse program as a useful tool for students in need. Brainfuse Helpnow is described as an all-in-one suite of tutoring services designed for a wide range of academic needs, including dealing with a tough homework problem, writing a paper, academic tutoring or independent study tools.

“During the COVID-19 school closures, our students are continuing to learn at home,” Funderburk said. “With access to the internet, families can help their students through Brainfuse and get the most out of our online resources.”

The internet-based program allows tutors and students to communicate in real time in an online classroom by typing, drawing and marking-up lessons and web content. Students can also access a secure file sharing feature in the writing lab to submit writing assignments to tutors any time. The full-service testing center offers practice tests for all grade levels in math, reading, writing and college preparatory tests including the SAT.

Khan Academy is another tool offering parents great advice to make sure their kids are receiving the help they need while at home. The internet-based site also offers tutoring to students in need and provides immediate feedback through its programming. The site recommends:

  • Students work on their reading and math in the morning when students are the most fresh
  • Parents talking to their student(s) to see how comfortable they are with the subject matter
  • Setting aside one-on-one time to maintain academic boundaries at other times

Most importantly Khan Academy stresses that it’s okay for parents to not know the subject.

“This is a wonderful time to be a role model for being curious and how to learn. If you or your child are struggling a bit, remember that’s natural. Learning is a process of ‘productive struggle,’” said a spokesperson with Khan Academy.

For more information on Guilford Parent Academy or Brainfuse HelpNow, visit www.gcsnc.com. For more information and tips from Khan Academy, visit www.khanacademy.com


Chanel Davis is a freelance journalist with the Carolina Peacemaker. She is based in High Point.




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