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 Provides Space to Help Feed Families During COVID-19
Common Ground High School in Connecticut donated their space to help an organization to feed families during the COVID-19 crisis. The Semilla Collective‘s “Food Garage” delivers to approximately 180 families per week—most of which are immigrants or undocumented individuals who have lost jobs due to the pandemic. Thanks to Common Ground High, volunteers at the food garage have additional space to help divide bags for deliveries.
Charter School Delivers Food to Students’ Doorstep
Epiphany Prep Charter School in California is delivering meals straight to their families. The school prepares a box of meals every Monday and delivers them to families who are unable to pick up meals. The meals are prepared to last for the week.
Charter School Students Equipped with Tools and Support for Online Learning
Mott Haven Academy Charter School made sure their students were equipped to continue learning online after the school moved full-time virtual due to COVID-19. The staff purchased hotspots and passed out 402 Chromebooks to their students and each student was connected with a staff member they can reach out to for additional support. The school also has a team of mental health professionals who help support families using teletherapy.
In Texas, AAMA Sanchez Charter Schools are collecting laptops for their students in need—so far they have collected 400 devices. A parent shared on video how grateful she feels her daughter will no longer have to use a cell phone to complete assignments.
In Chicago, Bronzeville Charter Academy will equip each household with a Chromebook and free internet access. Teachers developed e-learning plans and the school has made social workers available to provide strategies and help families cope.
A parent at the Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys in Maryland feels confident her son will not fall behind. The school surveyed their students to assess and support their needs for remote learning—such as the need for Chromebooks and internet access—before the school closed. Leaders say the pandemic has not stopped a day of learning at their school.
Charter Schools Adapt to Remote Learning
School leaders in the Classical Charter Schools network in New York are focusing on creative ways to strengthen their practices during these difficult times. They developed a schedule—one rotating teacher delivers instruction to an entire grade of students, while all the remaining teachers address issues with individual students as they arise. This model also allows teachers to see their fellow educators in action.
Representatives at Maine Virtual Academy believe that learning online can be just as powerful as learning in a traditional classroom environment. They offer tips on how to help students learn remotely, including the importance of organizing space and creating a schedule. The Cyber Academy of South Carolina also has advice on how go digital with lessons.
Charter schools aren’t letting their students who have special needs fall behind either. The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools recently shared guidance for schools adjusting to distance learning for special needs students. The piece specifically highlighted Friendship Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., Paramount School of Excellence in Indiana, and Strive Prep in Colorado as schools who have proactive and successful programs making sure these student needs are addressed.
Charter School Teacher Takes Students on Virtual Fieldtrip
A science teacher at Brass City Charter School in Connecticut found a creative way to take her students on an adventure while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Just in time for the classroom’s annual trout release, the teacher went into the water at Black Rock State Park while her students were watching on Facebook Live. She set approximately 150 trout free into the water and transformed the experience into a science lesson. Her students watched the trout grow from eggs in the classroom. Kudos to this science teacher for integrating real-world experiences into a high-quality and fun lesson.
Charter School Organizes Parade for Students
The team at Bay Haven Charter Academy in Florida found a way for their school community to safely see one another. They put on a parade! At least 400 cars with parents and students participated—even a Waffle House truck joined in. Teachers and staff stood six feet apart as they cheered on the crowd. Great job to Bay Haven Charter Academy for creating an unforgettable experience for their families during this tough time.
Colorado Charter Schools Unite to Help Families During the Pandemic
Many charter schools in Colorado are working together to help families during this pandemic. Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins used a 3-D printer to create medical supplies such as face shields for first responders. The families at Thomas MacLaren School are also making masks and donating blood. CEC Fort Collins and AXIS International Academy are preparing free nutritious meals for children under 18 years of age.
Colorado charter schools are also focusing on mental health and working to keep their students encouraged. Counselors are accessible to students at The Academy of Charter Schools. In addition, Early College of Arvada created an entire spirit week for families to participate in. AXIS International Academy has hosted virtual dance parties and encourages students to create art outside using chalk to create their designs on sidewalks.
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.