USD 437, Susanna Wesley UMC partner to offer learning program on remote days

13 News at Six
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 6:46 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - USD 437 staff and Indian Hills Elementary parents will now have a safe place to send their kids on remote learning days thanks to a partnership with Susanna Wesley United Methodist Church.

The church has worked closely with the Auburn-Washburn school district for many years and this year collaborated to provide a place for students to go two or three days out of the week when they aren’t in school.

Susanna Wesley UMC Pastor, Andrew Conard, said they approached the district to find out how they could serve families in the area this year.

“They said really what would be more helpful than before and after school care, would be some way to provide care for students when they’re not in the school building,” said Conard.

The church launched the “Learning Lab,” a hybrid environment for Indian Hills Elementary students and children of staff members.

The program’s Learning Coordinator, Jaymie Genovese said, “Knowing that we can take a little bit of the learning part off of parents weight, I think that’s been a real struggle for parents trying to balance their work responsibilities along with helping their children with school.”

Genovese is a former teacher at Indian Hills Elementary School and said she’s excited to use that in her new role this year with the church.

“We’re going to help kids get online and connected with their teachers for meetings in the mornings and afternoons,” she continued saying, “We’re going to help them complete their online assignments or other paper, pencil assignments they have from their teachers.”

While learning is the main focus, students won’t be confined to their desks.

“We’ll have recess time, we’ll have breaks where we dance and have fun, we’ll get outside and get some fresh air,” said Genovese.

The church will also follow the same health guidelines USD 437 has implemented.

She said, “We’ll be doing temperature checks of kids every morning, we’ll be masking all day, we’ll be spacing desks 6 feet apart from each other so that we have that social distance built in.”

Conard said it’s a partnership that holds new meaning this school year.

“They’ve offered us the use of their desks as well as some other tangible supplies to help us make this happen,” he added, “We just want to do what we can to partner with them to help serve our community and they’ve been very gracious in helping us make it possible.”

The program is free for district staff. For all other Indian Hills students, the cost is $120 per child, per week.

There are a limited number of slots still available. To sign up or for more information, visit the Susanna Wesley UMC website.

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