Watertown student, Ukrainian refugee learning from Poland
Updated: Jun 15, 2022
WATERTOWN, Wis. - A Ukrainian refugee is getting help with her education in Watertown without ever stepping foot in the United States.
"Wartime destroyed every plan for the future, not just for adults but for the children, too," said Olga Lytvynova.
Lytvynova and her family were forced out of Ukraine by the war with Russia. They've settled for now in Warsaw, Poland. The war disrupted not only their lives but also, the education of Lytvynova's 8-year-old daughter, Sophie.
"It’s a tough situation for the children," said Lytvynova.
They have been in Poland for about a month.
Sophie’s education is getting back on track in Wisconsin. She’s a student of the Watertown School District even though she has never set foot on the eCampus Academy Charter School grounds.
"Only e-campuses give us the opportunity to continue the studying process," said Lytvynova.
David Vitale is the assistant superintendent.
"Space and time is no longer fixed to a physical location with respect to learning," said Vitale.
Vitale said they connected with Sophie’s mother through their partnership with U.S. University Pathways, an organization that connects international students to educational opportunities in Wisconsin.
"We were really humbled to help out," said Vitale.
Sophie can connect to an instructor for science, math, social studies and English from her computer in Poland, while instructors for the school district have the option to set up in smaller classrooms.
"We take information from the families, and we make adjustments as their learning evolves," said Vitale.
Vitale says the eCampus Academy Charter School hopes to continue to expand its international reach through summer and fall.
Lytvynova said she sees a positive change.
"I can see that Sophie has totally adored the program," said Lytvynova.
She hopes other Ukrainian students impacted by the war are able to enroll, too.
"I think one thing we all share in common is we care about and love our kids," said Vitale. "We understand that internationally."
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