This post is part of an ongoing series sharing the positive stories that have come out of the challenges our schools are facing. To see all of the posts in this series, click here.
In a short amount of time, COVID-19 has changed the way we live. The term social distancing is a new norm—and families around the world are forced to adapt to new routines. While the lives of many have changed significantly, one thing that has remained consistent is the drive of school leaders and teachers to continue serving their students the best way they can. Despite the problems many Americans are facing, there are many examples that show how educators are going the extra mile.
Charter School Motivates Students Online
Imagine the excitement of students waking up on weekdays and celebrating a theme online with their school community each day. This is what its like at Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School in New Jersey. Parents and students participate by uploading their fun photos to Facebook. Some of the themes and activities include, showing off their pet or stuffed animals, encouraging sustainability for their routine (aptly named Green Day), decorating encouraging signs, building a fort, and demonstrating family fun. See what some of their families came up with here. Other educators are taking the same approach of focusing on the light and ways to keep a positive mindset. The CEO of Gem Innovation Schools says teachers can use this as an opportunity to connect with students in a different way. See his advice here for shifting to online learning.
Charter School Provides Support to Immigrant Families
Briya Public Charter School in Washington D.C. is responding to the needs of their immigrant families during the coronavirus crisis. The school has a two-generation education program that allows parents to study English, digital literacy, and careers while their children are enrolled. The school’s services team responded quickly after learning that district school buildings would close. They gathered learning materials for parents and students to take home and uploaded educational activities and resources to the website. The team also established a way for students with special needs to receive or be connected to services online. In addition, they established a check-in system to meet the individual needs of parents. Communications have been available in multiple languages to meet the needs of their families. The team has connected families to resources as it relates to nutrition, mental health, access to internet, legal assistance, bill payment, transportation and employment. Moreover, school leaders set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for additional learning materials. To keep the morale high, families have connected on popular social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – to interact, stay encouraged, and support one another.
Chromebooks Delivered to Students’ Front Doors
School leaders and teachers at Legacy Preparatory Charter Academy in Texas made sure each student was equipped with a laptop to continue with online learning. Though leaders extended laptop pick-up hours at the school, they acknowledged some students may not have transportation available or parents may have to work later hours. So, the staff came together to deliver the remaining laptops to their students’ homes. Also on a mission to connect students with technology, The Philadelphia School Partnership has committed to purchasing 15,000 Chromebooks for charter school and catholic students. A board member who co-founded Boys Latin Charter School says that every student should have the opportunity to continue their learning online.
If you have an uplifting story to share about educators going the extra mile, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brittnee Exum is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.