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Teachers Are Leaning In To At-Home Learning

Remember Bill Murray’s movie ‘Groundhog Day’? Quarantine is like that: childcare, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning more than ever before, laundry, oh yes, let’s not forget working full-time jobs (if we still have a job), and, above all, limiting exposure while maintaining safe social distancing. We achieve these things, some days with more screen time than others. We go to sleep; the process begins anew at daybreak. If we’re lucky, we avoid snow. If we’re lucky, we avoid earthquakes. If we’re really lucky, we avoid COVID-19.

Without Park City School District teachers, we are lost. Without our teachers, the at-home learning efforts redouble – and then some. To ease the burden, and because they desperately miss their students, our wonderful teachers have already put in Herculean efforts to overcome hurdles of distance teaching.

Learning at home can be challenging when the world is humming right along, and e-curriculum is pre-planned. Throw in a global pandemic; an urgent creation, application, and acclimation timeline; and challenges with supplies – and it could quickly reach the point of being adverse at best. NOT SO in Park City, where our teachers have leapt to the challenge! Here’s a glimpse at what two Trailside Elementary School teachers are doing to make the most and the best of at-home learning...

Krista Ingle, a 3rd-grade TSES teacher, applied for a $200 PCEF Emergency Express Grant to be used for Google Classroom academic resources. Math, reading, fairy tale STEM projects, and interactive activities for small groups will be supported by this small - but mighty – Emergency Express Grant, which will positively impact 90 students.

Here’s what Krista had to say about how she’s working to make at-home learning a success: 

It is shocking to me how much it pains PCSD teachers to be separated from their students. I have had many sleepless nights thinking about how to help all of our students. One of the challenges is making sure all of our students have what they need at home as far as access to the computer and understanding how to access all of our programs.

I could not be doing this without the third-grade team. We text, video, and email constantly to keep each other motivated, share what is working and what is not, and throw in some good laughs as well.

Another success for me during this distance learning is video chatting with the students. I have met with most of my students one on one through video to make sure they could use Google Meet on their own the second week of distance learning. 

While meeting with them they would carry the laptops around the house, show me their animals (real and stuffed animals), what they were eating, any projects they have worked on, etc. – they just wanted to connect.

During this time of distance learning, I am most worried about our students and how this will impact their emotional and mental health. I am hopeful we will all learn from this and take away what positives we can from this experience. Thank you to PCEF for helping us in this time of need.


Michelle Owen, a 3rd-grade teacher, asked for a $100 PCEF Emergency Express Grant to provide a digital break from worksheets, hands-on opportunities, and offer a way for students to do more than just “watch” something online. Another small request - with a large impact. 80 students will benefit from this grant.

Here’s what Michelle had to say about navigating the new world of at-home learning:

This new learning platform has been an adjustment! My team and I came together to provide packets for the students that would be somewhat challenging, yet easy for them to do on their own.

We have been trying out Zoom so the students can all see each other's cute faces. I love how many pets were shown during meeting times. It gives kids a boost to see their friends and ask any questions of me.

Some challenges have been mastering Zoom and making sure everyone can obtain this information, without overwhelming the parents! 

Another challenge or worry I have is for the students' social and emotional wellbeing. This was an abrupt ending and is uncharted territory for us. I worry some students are feeling lonely, or unsure.

The most positive thing to come out of all of this is my students' parents - hands down! They have risen to the occasion and have been tackling the packets with tenacity and checking in to make sure they are doing it well. Wow, I am so impressed with all of you!  Thank you!

Once again, our teachers show they are second to none. Thank you, teachers, from the bottom of our hearts. Together, we’ll finally leave Groundhog Day.


To support our students and teachers, we are raising money right now to increase PCEF’s Express Grant Fund by $50,000 to support immediate teacher and student at-home schooling needs.

PCEF has always offered PCSD teachers access to Express Grants. Now there is an opportunity for us to step up even more. As the name implies, Express Grants have a very short turn-around and exist to fill immediate classroom needs.

The fund will be available to provide:

  • Classroom basics for low-income families

  • Teacher funds for new ed-tech resources

  • Low tech supplies for home off-screen learning

  • Needs yet to be identified as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds

If you are in a position to do so, we invite you to Donate to the PCEF Express Grant Fund.

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