What do you do when your child’s school transitions to online classes during the coronavirus pandemic and you’re still something of a Luddite?

Many are turning to the nonprofit Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), which – bolstered by a $100,000 grant from the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund – is helping parents become more tech savvy and more connected with their children’s education.

“Our families are in limbo,” explained Patricia Chavez, PIQE’s Director of Policy. “They are not used to the technology, let alone how to teach from home. A lot of them don’t have an internet connection and have little to no digital literacy.”

Enhanced services funded through The San Diego Foundation COVID-19 Community Response grant include reaching out to families in assessing needs and providing personalized support; coaching parents on how to navigate mobile technology, SMS/text, web, social media, video conferencing and school websites; facilitating weekly virtual parent engagement workshops to support distance learning and reduce social isolation; and providing interactive Q&A sessions with principals, teachers, counselors, or experts on various topics.

The COVID-19 Community Response Fund is administered by The San Diego Foundation and has granted more than $11 million to over 130 local nonprofits working on the frontline of the health and economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund also underscores the importance of community foundations and nonprofits across the nation during these challenging times. According to the Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative, community foundations have already granted more than $500 million to COVID response efforts and mobilized nearly $1 billion in charitable giving.

PIQE Ocean View Hills Virtual Graduation
PIQE Ocean View Hills Virtual Graduation

PIQE is a national organization working to empower and support low-income families, communities of color, English-language learners, and immigrants in becoming better engaged in their children’s education. And it’s working. Approximately 2.1 million children have benefitted from the nonprofit, with studies showing students of parents connected to PIQE graduate from high school and attend college at higher rates than their peers, thanks to PIQE’s efforts in becoming successful advocates for their children’s education.

“Since school closures, we have lived in a different reality,” said PIQE President and CEO Gloria Corral. “We have been reaching out to families. We have been listening. We have been learning. We have been adapting and pivoting so that we’re really able to hear the concerns and the needs of our families so we can respond and share their perspective and their voice as we support their efforts to engage in this new world,”.

Some 1,500 families in San Diego are being served through the COVID-19 Community Response Fund grant to PIQE. Lani Gonzalez is among those who have been helped through a PIQE program.

“We enrolled in the PIQE program for parents because we believe a good education is important for our kids’ future,” said Gonzalez, the parent of two daughters at Ocean View Hills Elementary School in Otay Mesa. “Since we’ve been attending this class, we have been more focused on assessing what is important for our children. We have a better understanding about the integral roles family, school and community play in our girls’ education. How we participate and get involved in each one of these areas has a direct impact on our children’s school progress and development. We’ve started reviewing and discussing homework more thoroughly. We’ve had more candid conversations about what they want to do when they grow up and what steps they need to take to accomplish this goal. We’ve also had more communication with their teachers regarding their academic progress.”

You can help San Diego children and families by donating today.