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RIDE & Highlander Institute Expand Distance Learning Helpline to Support Parents and Families

Teachers Have Been Using Resource Since March 24


PROVIDENCE, RI – Parents, families, and teachers have a powerful ally in their efforts to help students succeed during their distance learning experience. A newly expanded RI Distance Learning Helpline is now open to parents and guardians who have questions on how best to support students during their distance learning experience. The Helpline was previously only available to teachers.

Teachers, parents, and guardians can call the Helpline at 904-414-4927 or fill out the online form at http://highlanderinstitute.org/distance-learning-helpline/ to get their distance learning questions answered.

“In this unprecedented moment, we must do all we can to support schools, teachers, and families as they navigate the brave new world of distance learning,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “We know that there is a big learning curve – and we are so grateful to have partners like the Highlander Institute step up to strengthen our outreach efforts during this public health crisis.”

RIDE partnered with the Highlander Institute and their network of Fuse RI Fellows to develop and launch the RI Distance Learning Helpline for teachers on March 24. The first 50 helpline calls were from teachers representing 12 different Rhode Island school districts. The newly expanded parent and family support is the result of a powerful alliance that includes RIDE, the Highlander Institute, the Rhode Island Office of Innovation, Rhode Island Small Business Tech Help, the Right Click, and a number of municipal and community libraries and library groups.

“Highlander Institute is honored to partner with RIDE and committed to mobilizing our network to support Rhode Island teachers and families through the demands presented by distance learning,” said Dana Borrelli-Murray, Highlander Institute’s Executive Director. “Even the strongest distance learning plans face implementation hurdles, and it is collaborative, cross-district, cross-sector partnerships like these that will ensure we meet the challenges of distance learning head on.”

More than 55 librarians, Fuse RI Fellows, and staff from The Right Click have already volunteered to staff the RI Distance Learning Helpline, which offers tailored, one-to-one coaching at times that work best for families and teachers. Those with questions complete a simple form and are provided with a calendar invite for a virtual meeting or phone call with a volunteer to support their needs.

Highlander Institute is a non-profit organization based in Providence, RI that partners with communities to imagine and create more equitable, relevant, and effective schools. Using research, the Institute team convenes, coaches, and builds capacity to improve outcomes and experiences for all students. Our team envisions students, educators, and communities partnering as agents of change to design classrooms that empower, schools that adapt, and systems that liberate. At its core, Highlander Institute focuses on creating student-centered, personalized learning environments, particularly for historically underserved student populations. www.highlanderinstitute.org

Full list of partners
The Highlander Institute; East Providence High School; Providence Community Library; Providence Public Library; the Rhode Island Group for Hispanic Technology; the Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids; the Rhode Island Office of Innovation; Rhode Island Small Business Tech Help through the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and District Hall/Venture Café; The Right Click; Cranston Public Library; Warwick Public Library; and Westerly Library and Wilcox Park.