NewsEducation / May 13, 2020

Need Remote Learning Help? Hotlines Connect With Retired Teachers, Volunteers

A second grade math worksheet and phone. - WFYI News

A second grade math worksheet and phone.

WFYI News

Families who want help with students' math, reading, science and social studies assignments during remote learning can now call two new hotlines toll-free.

Indiana Retired Teachers Association set up a network staffed by volunteer retired credentialed educators. They are on call four hours each weekday to help all Indiana students and parents.

Trish Whitcomb, the association’s executive director, says the average call is about 8 minutes -- and the longest so far was one hour. The intent of the Call & Learn Hotline to assist students who don't have connections to the internet

“We are also realizing that in some families, some households, they may just have one computer and two or three kids and mom and dad are home trying to work from home,” Whitcomb says. “So there is a great need for telephone based homework assistance. And that's what this program is designed to deliver.”

A call center connects students with high school teachers who specialize in math, science, language arts or social studies. Elementary students are paired with general education elementary teachers. Volunteers take calls from their homes. Whitcomb says no identifiable personal information is collected during the call.

The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation funded the project with an initial $25,000 grant.

The Indiana branch of the national advocacy group Stand For Children set up the Home Learning Hoteline, a phone and video chat service for math and English aimed at Marion County families. It offers Zoom video chats and Spanish language assistance.

A survey the nonprofit recently conducted found a majority of parents want help with their child’s school assignments.

A challenge both groups face is the families who need this the most, don’t know about it because they lack home internet access. Both are working with schools and other organizations to inform families of the options.

If the idea of a homework help line sounds familiar, it may be because AskRose. The math and science tutoring helpline and message service has been offered by Terre Haute's Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology since 1991.

How To Call

Call & Learn Hotline by Indiana Retired Teachers Association
Hours: 1-5 p.m. each week day
Connect: (877) 45-STUDY (877-457-8839), www.retiredteachers.org
Other: Retired Indiana teachers who want to volunteer should call 888-454-9333.

Stand for Children Indiana Home Learning Hotline
Hours: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday. Support will be provided in English or Spanish. Zoom video chats also available.
Connect: 317-560-4600, www.Stand.org/Indiana

AskRose by Rose-Hulman
Hours: 12-3 p.m. each week day; 7-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday.
Connect: 877-ASK-ROSE (877-275-7673) or www.AskRose.org for more options.

Contact WFYI education reporter Eric Weddle at eweddle@wfyi.org or call (317) 614-0470. Follow on Twitter: @ericweddle.

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