Among the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic is one that has parents not only in Calabasas but all over the country fretting about their children’s future: the challenges of remote learning. The physical safety of students, teachers, staff, and their families has appropriately been the driving force behind the decision to rely on technology to deliver the instruction that would normally take place in person, but both professional educators and their pupils have struggled in the new setting. Even students who have the technology, space, and support to access online learning can fail to thrive academically, and the parents trying to help them may feel isolated, unsure of where they can turn for help. While parents can rest assured that this is not a problem isolated to our community, much less their own household, that knowledge isn’t much comfort when they see their own child floundering.
In Calabasas, this challenge has inspired our community to offer solutions, supported by the same technology that has enabled education and business to continue when physical togetherness isn’t advisable. Two volunteer efforts, one for school-aged students up to 8th grade and another for high school students, are providing free tutoring via Zoom to help keep students on track.
The Online Study Buddies program for younger students is organized by the Calabasas Library, and takes place on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. via Zoom. Interested parents should fill out the online sign-up form to request a half-hour tutoring slot; sign up is required in advance. The form allows you to specify your child’s age and the subject area in which they need help. Tutoring is provided by Advanced Placement and Honors high school students who generously donate their time to help their younger peers. Parents wishing to learn more about the program can email Senior Librarian Karilyn Steward at [email protected].
For high school students seeking help, Calabasas High School is offering Online Peer Counseling Tutoring with the National Honor Society. These sessions are held online Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Students interested in joining the online study sessions should use this link to find the relevant access information. Help is offered for both general high school level work and AP classes. For additional questions about the program, families can email the student leaders of the program at [email protected],
[email protected], or [email protected].
Efforts like these are a reminder of how members of our community have reached out to support one another with generosity and ingenuity during the pandemic. With vaccination efforts gaining steam in Southern California and across the nation, there’s hope that we’ll be able to return to a more normal way of life in the latter half of 2021, including getting students across the region back into classrooms in person. In the meantime, it is uplifting to see how we can work together to overcome difficulties. It will be even more interesting to see which efforts, born of necessity, will live on in the post-pandemic world, as we find the technological means to connect in ways that might not have occurred to us before.