A+’s New Easy-to-Use Parent Portal Helps Parents Prepare for a Virtual Reality

Dr. Matt L. Smith, VP of Policy & Dad to two public school kids

The 2020-21 school year has arrived for Alabama’s students, and if you’re like me, you are working to adapt to the ever-changing school and work environment amid COVID-19 (Anyone else have a seven-year old banging on your office/closet door right now asking about WiFi passwords?). Some school districts have returned to full-time in-person school, some to a hybrid schedule featuring a mixture of virtual and in-person learning, and some to a full-time remote or virtual learning model. While school districts monitor public health data and prepare to return to traditional schooling, the majority of Alabama students will engage in (at least some) virtual learning for now.

For many parents and caregivers, “virtual learning” this past Spring was best described as “virtual insanity.” As a parent of a second grader, I can attest – the virtual struggle has been real. Many families, like mine, struggled with the sudden yet necessary change from in-person to remote learning. If the image of seven browser windows open to different learning activities while (unsuccessfully) attempting to connect live with the teacher on Google Meet conjures up past nightmares, you’re not alone. School districts and community organizations, seeking to support families in the crisis, flooded inboxes with a myriad of online resources.The assistance was well intended; however, in many cases, these resources left parents feeling more stressed and overwhelmed. It was difficult to know which resources were best to use and where to start.

Seeking to ease some of the uncertainty felt last spring, the A+ team went to work this summer and developed our new parent portal with parents in mind. Easily accessible on any mobile device and built to add to the information that local school districts provide, the A+ Parent Portal provides organized resources to help students learn from home. From online access and remote learning basics to help for every grade and subject, our easy-to-use COVID-19 Parent Portal is here to help.

How to Use It: 2 Easy Steps

Step 1: Go to aplusala.org/parents from your computer or smartphone.

Step 2: Use the organized sections to navigate the site and find the resource you need. The A+ Parent Portal is conveniently divided into three sections:

Section 1 – Guidance and Decision Making:

Provides information and guidance from experts for parents to consider when making decisions about your child’s schooling during COVID-19.. Includes information from national and local health agencies (e.g., the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health) as well as updated information from the Alabama State Department of Education.

Section 2 – Supporting Learning From Home:

Provides resources, such as online learning basics, grade and subject-specific lessons, and sites with free homework help, and more.There are also resources specifically designed to support Special Education students and English learners.

Section 3 – Coping & Well-Being:

Supports students’ (and families’) mental well being. Multiple sources provide activities, tips, and strategies to help families cope during these extraordinary times.

Stay Connected

A+ works to ensure great schools for every child. In this era of COVID 19, we want to ensure that a great school experience extends beyond the brick and mortar school to your living room. We want to be a partner to parents during this trying time and beyond. To stay in the loop on the latest education news, sign up for our weekly update, The Gist! We compile the latest state and national education news and send it right to your inbox every Friday morning. Sign up here.