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Adjusting to Virtual Education

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Hobson Family

Since March, families have found themselves spending more time together than they normally would as COVID-19 changed our “normal” school and business routines. Wanting to gain a better understanding of how these changes have affected families within Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS), we connected with local mom Jackie Hobson to learn how her household has made the transition.

Jackie and her husband Darrell have seven children, two of whom are currently enrolled in KPS. While Darrell’s job at Ace Hardware requires him to leave the house, Jackie’s office job allows her to work remotely from home.

This means she is present when daughter Imani, a freshman at Loy Norrix High School, and son Elijah, a fifth grader at Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary, participate in virtual classes.

Each day, Hobson works to create a routine-based environment that allows her children to learn more effectively while also giving her the chance to stay on top of her workload. She describes the time spent together as having its fair share of benefits and challenges.

“To see them actually sit down and do schoolwork on their own is rewarding. I have even caught them studying not because they were told to, but because they wanted to do well in their classes,” Hobson remarked.

On the flipside, she has noticed the negative ramifications that virtual learning has had on her kids’ social lives.

“The hardest thing for Imani has been the social impact,” Hobson said. “Going to high school is exciting and the connections you make are a highlight of the whole experience, especially during your freshman year.

“As for Elijah, it is difficult because we are finding out that he is more social than we previously thought. He definitely misses seeing his friends in person.”

Despite these challenges, Hobson has been thoroughly impressed with the initiative that her children’s teachers and KPS’ staff have demonstrated during this foray into virtual learning.

“Imani and Elijah’s teachers took it upon themselves to provide us with a beautiful, color-coded Excel spread sheet of when and where they are supposed to be for each class,” she shared. “One of Elijah’s teachers also dropped off a science packet for him to use as well.

“KPS has been great in terms of meeting the educational needs of our kids.”

Additionally, Hobson and her family are thankful for the support that The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise) and its staff provides.

“For me personally, The Promise is what anchors our family to Kalamazoo.” She explained. “Our two oldest daughters had Von Washington as their principal at Kalamazoo Central High School and his leadership gave us a lot of hope. We are thankful that he is a part of The Promise’s staff.”

We could not agree with you more, Jackie! Thank you for sharing how you and your family are handling virtual learning.

For any KPS families that have questions regarding the 2020-21 school year, we recommend visiting the district’s website for resources and information.

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