ATLIS Virtual Town Hall, 1 April 2020: Supporting Parents

Each week technology leaders from around the globe gather to discuss issues and concerns related to the challenges of the day. In this edition, we discussed ways schools are supporting parents who are working from home and helping their children attend school virtually. We also discussed how tech teams need the support of their leadership and schools to maintain self-care during this crisis. Other issues, such as repair and breakage policies, filled out the hour's discussion. -- SD

[10-minute read; 1-hour video]

Register here for our next Virtual Town Hall on April 8.

Virtual Town Hall Blog banner

The April 1 ATLIS Virtual Town Hall focused on support for parents and tech team self-care during these challenging times. Virtual schooling has made it necessary to call on parents to provide support to their children in their online learning spaces -- requiring everything from troubleshooting bandwidth issues to helping with lessons online

“A lot of our parents are now teachers,” one participant said, “so we treat them like faculty.”

Meanwhile, as technology teams work 24/7 to provide the training and support teachers need to ramp up distance learning programs for their schools, we looked for guidance from technology leaders for helping them establish boundaries and give themselves the care they need to sustain all of our efforts.

ATLIS Virtual Town Hall, April 1, 2020 (Video Archive)



What are you doing or feel you need to do to support parents during this challenging time? What are the best resources you’ve found for parents during this unprecedented time?

  • Offer Zoom chats, check in and get a pulse
  • Set up Zoom Camp during Spring Break to give relief to families: online games, story time, student-run classes 
  • Create live FAQ page, for example, what to do when a student gets locked out
  • Set up online resource board specifically for parents
  • Kick off online learning via Facebook Live, specifically for parents
  • Explain how virtual office hours work
  • Create a well-defined schedule that parents can count on
  • Send out frequent surveys to parents for feedback
  • Create a status board for parents, to let them know if a tool goes down
  • Describe how learning looks different now
  • Provide resources about how to connect with each other
  • Model parent help web pages on local public school “who to contact” pages used for other school closures
  • Reach out to parents in need to offer grocery store gift cards
  • Open Help Desk ticketing system to parents; share how to ask for support
  • Suggest ways to help parents connect younger children to see their friends’ faces
  • Create a parent hub to collect information all in one place on your school’s website 

How are you setting boundaries and promoting self-care for your tech team?

  • The Thirsty Three -- Come to an online meeting, bring a beverage, tell about three funny things that happened this week. Change hats and wigs during meetings to keep things light.a
  • Tune in to staff anxiety; meet them where they are. I give my name and personal info out to the community in order to be the front person for support and protect my team.
  • Instruct your team to take three breaks a day, stop by 4 pm, honor your weekends and evenings. 
  • Play Minecraft (or other online games) together to do something silly and have a good time.
  • Losing someone on your team adds a new layer about self care. 
  • Do a one-on-one check-in with team members each morning. 
  • For a  virtual lunch meeting, arrange to have lunch delivered to all of your people.

Resources Shared in the Chat

SnipeIT: Open Source Asset Management

Sample Parent Resources from Providence Day School

ATLIS Virtual Town Hall Archive

Newest Resources from the ATLIS Clearinghouse

Parent Resources


Humor (for When You Need It)

Teaching and Learning Online

Working from Home (WFH)

ATLIS Member-Created Resources

 Sample School Web Pages


Knowing Technologies



Time for Kids 


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