A few weeks before school started I approached education reporter Sanne Godfrey at The News-Review with an invitation to collaborate for a short series of articles. The intention was to bring about a space where parents could come to feel connected, read useful information and get ideas to make things work better for their learners and their school life right now.

Sanne welcomed this idea wholeheartedly and added her intention to give parents a voice around the challenges they are facing in education as it is now. Around these ideas for the next six weeks or so, we will be writing on topics centered around distance learning and virtual education. I will be contributing stories with advice and tips from professional educators and Sanne has created a Google form for parents to ask questions and get information in areas they need.

Recently, I heard an interview on NPR radio news with the 1990s band, Indigo Girls. They were part of an organized project where artists contributed a song relating to the pandemic crisis and this curious challenge the world is facing. When asked what they thought a song, or a story, can do for people in times like these, one of the songwriters said: “A song can keep you company.” While distance learning may not be the most inspired material for songwriting, it is important to an education reporter like Sanne and to educators like me. And to you, the parents, who are working with your learners daily and doing your best to keep them on track, driving forward, and learning. Which, in the end, is the whole goal.

I hope the information that we put together and the questions that Sanne asks you to give help you move forward and learn in this process with your family, your respective schools and your educators. I hope these stories keep you company and give you some added courage as you move through this moment in time.

Jessica Monday is the online learning coordinator for Roseburg Public Schools and will answer questions about distance learning and virtual education.

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