PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – School districts across the state are doing what they can to keep kids engaged and learning during this time of social distancing.
For dual-language students and families, this can be an even bigger challenge.
At Rigler Elementary School in Portland, about half of the 300 or so students are Spanish speakers.
“As a parent, you need to be able to support your child in their education to feel like this is worthwhile,” Principal Myrna Munoz said.
In order to do that, Munoz told FOX 12 that Rigler's staff are thinking outside of the box when it comes to their lessons.
Kindergarten teacher Luis Soto and others have been collaborating to publish videos online on a YouTube platform called "Rigler Remote" that features lessons in both English and Spanish. Soto has done cooking lessons with his daughters and incorporated music into his teaching.
“They don't forget – when they have fun, they don’t forget what they learn,” Soto said.
As a district, PPS is also putting out its own dual-language videos that teachers can use, too.
STEAM program senior director Dr. Sarah Davis said two to three videos with instructional material in Spanish and English get published per grade (K-2) each week.
A puppet animal that Davis said she already had in her house is often featured in the videos.
“The students might talk to him through a TV screen in a way that they might not talk to a human,” Dr. Davis said.
Scott Elementary School instructional coach and contributor to the bilingual videos, Amparo Garcia-Yurchanco, said it’s important to make sure all families feel supported during this time.
“So, we’re recording in two languages, in two homes, with one puppet,” Garcia-Yurchanco told FOX 12.
It’s not just about education for the kids. Munoz said Rigler is also making sure families are in the loop about pandemic-related issues outside of school, publishing videos to help parents understand what’s going on and what their resources are.
Teachers are stepping up and taking on roles outside of their job descriptions, Munoz explained, telling FOX 12 that a group of Rigler teachers is now delivering food to some families on Fridays.
“[A teacher] went with a family to talk to their landlord, helped them do all the paperwork,” Munoz said, adding that all of the online videos are about letting families know that the school and district is there to help.
Rigler parent Alma Mora said the efforts are felt and appreciated.
“Whether in messages or calls, I ask for help – how do I do this – and the teachers are there for us,” Mora said in Spanish.
Mora added that her two kids who are students at Rigler have loved the virtual material and are excited to watch the videos every day.
Rigler Remote is also allowing students to contribute. Last week, for Teacher Appreciation Week, students submitted their own videos about their teachers to say thank you.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.