Cherokee Nation funds help parents buy needed items for distance learning
Cherokee Nation citizen John White Jr., fifth grader at Cherokee Elementary in Tahlequah, uses a laptop to have a Zoom meeting with his teacher on Sept. 4. He and other students in the CN are distance learning with their teachers via technology for the 2020-21 school year. COURTESY.
Cherokee Nation citizen Peyton Proctor, a third grader, uses a computer to work on assignments for school. She is one of many students this year who is distance learning rather than attending in-person classes. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – At the end of August, many parents were notified that their children received technology funds through Cherokee Nation to aid in distance learning.
Due to COVID-19, the federal funds are used for the CN’s $40 million Respond, Recover and Rebuild Education Initiative, according to a previous Cherokee Phoenix article. Regardless of income or location, Cherokee students age 5-18 were eligible to apply for the grant and received $400 each for technology needs such as laptops, Wi-Fi, specialized software or related items.
As the new school year started, parents who chose distance learning over traditional schooling for their kids, had to navigate how to set up tablets, laptops and Wi-Fi at home so the students could access their schoolwork.
CN citizen Ashley Proctor-Sneed, of Kenwood, said her daughter Peyton, a third grader, already has a tablet but they plan to get her a laptop with the tech funds.
“We are doing virtual schooling and are currently looking for the best kind of device that will work for her and that’s easy for her to understand,” Proctor-Sneed said. “A tablet is a device we already had and wanted to see how she did on it before getting her a better one for school, only to learn the work is harder on a tablet than a computer. With a laptop, it may simplify the work for her a little more but for what’s required, copy and paste isn’t something she understands quite yet, so it’s been a learning process this first week.”
CN citizen Pawnee Crabtree, of Tahlequah, received funds for her three children, purchasing tablets and laptops for her second grader, fifth grader and 11th grader.
“All three of mine purchased devices even though their schools are providing these for distance learning,” Crabtree said. “I felt like if we have the financial ability to get a back-up device, why not? Now they have the device the school provided and we are adding school apps to their personal devices, as a precaution in case something happens with the school devices. Besides the devices, we are using funds to pay for Wi-Fi services.”
Lanae Knifechief, of Spavinaw, said her children – CN citizens Jocelyn King, a second grader, and Brycson King, a fourth grader – are schooling this year with EPIC, a free public online charter school for grades pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
“They just started EPIC, strictly due to the masks. We weren’t going to make them wear them and they didn’t want to. So they decided to do all virtual,” Knifechief said.
She said they only had to buy laptops and already had Wi-Fi in place.
“I thought it was super beneficial for everyone who didn’t have the means to buy things their children needed for school,” Knifechief said.
Proctor-Sneed shared Knifechief’s sentiments about having the funds available.
“A lot of us just don’t have the extra funds available to purchase an iPad or laptop,” Proctor-Sneed said. “So I think it’s great. It’s also something that they can continue to use in the future if needed.”