Call & Learn Hotline connects students with retired teachers
Indiana’s Call and Learn hotline has returned to aid Indiana students with homework challenges caused by the coronavirus.
The toll-free hotline provides one-on-one help to students by linking them with volunteers from the Indiana Retired Teachers Association, retirees of the American Federation of Teachers’ Indiana chapter and the Indiana State Teachers Association. This program is available to K-12 students by telephone during COVID-19 remote-learning directives.
Following the closing of schools in March, Call & Learn helped more than a thousand students working from home and provided about 3,500 hours of homework assistance.
With many Indiana schools continuing eLearning this fall, hundreds of education volunteers are ready to help students again.
The Indiana Dept. of Education and Indiana Public Schools Superintendents Association have supported remote learning strategies to comply with social-distancing recommendations to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Retirees will service the hotline from the comfort of their home, adhering to all stay-at-home guidelines.
“We received great thanks for the assistance our volunteers provided during the spring term,” said Trish Whitcomb, IRTA executive director. “Teachers never stop being teachers, and, in an ordinary year, our members volunteer more than a million hours for educational causes.
“This project is exceptional,” she said. “Not only are we able to help our students learn in this different environment, but it is also a way for our retired members to stay connected to our communities while they shelter at home as well.”
More than 60% of Indiana’s one million public school students have limited or no access to online learning, which prompted Indiana’s retired teachers to create a telephone-based resource for homework help. Even students who have access to computers may face new challenges with eLearning and require extra assistance with their assignments.
Students and parents can call 1-877-40-STUDY (1-877-407-8839) toll-free to request assistance from a volunteer educator. The Call & Learn Hotline is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
Middle and high school students are matched with educators with expertise in math, science, language arts and social studies. Elementary students are paired with general education elementary teachers.
The program ensures anonymity and also records the calls, protecting both students and educators.
Any retired Indiana educator interested in volunteering for the program can contact IRTA by email at [email protected] or by calling 1-888-454-9333.
The Indiana Retired Teachers Association is a non-partisan organization serving retired educators since 1950 with planning resources, advocacy and social connection. It supports and encourages volunteerism; IRTA members contribute more than one million hours annually to educational causes, saving Hoosier taxpayers approximately $20 million each year.