How Schools Combined Community, Even Though Divided

How Schools Brought Community Together, Even While Apart

If you had tried to plan a situation that would bring our public schools to the brink, you would not have done better than you think about what will happen in the spring of 2020. It happened so fast. Schools soon had to learn how to teach students from a distance, without the help of summer planning or additional training. High schools went through a double challenge: equipping young people in current teaching and ensuring that they stay on the path to the future amid great anxiety, stress, and depression.

Experts have warned that the epidemic will have a negative impact on next-generation COVID and preliminary data suggest they may be right. Since the epidemic hit, more than half a million financial aid forms have been completed in support of affordable college enrollment. The biggest drop is from students who may be in dire need of help – colored students and students from the lower-income sectors. Despite this dire situation, some high schools have been able to make a difference. The College Achievement Award identifies high schools that support college enrollment and achievement in 25 states. 

This year GreatSchools has reached out to the specialty of these winning schools to learn how they went about epidemic education. Not only did they meet for a moment, but they developed very effective solutions that kept them going permanently even though schools returned in the fall. Here’s what they found: Reunited with their families. With buildings closed, schools had to make art by involving families. El Paso’s Valle Verde Early College High School, for example, took its monthly parenting forums online and found out what happens when you remove barriers to family involvement.

At the first meeting, instead of 50 parents, more than 300 appeared and crashed the program. “We see people making dinner, washing clothes, but listening and asking questions. They take care of life’s responsibilities,” said retired principal Paul Covey. With the click of a simple button, hundreds of busy parents are offered the opportunity to participate in school activities without having to care for children, leave work early, or take public transportation. Meeting alumni where they are. 

The Mater Performing Arts Academy of Florida has been inviting all students to visit the school to share their experiences, but once the school is online, they find that they can reach alumni across the country. “We made many presentations with our alumni … in Boston or Francis San Francisco,” said college counselor Silvino Macho. Using the power of video conferencing, the school collaborated with its alumni community to share its college and career studies with lecturers. Meet young people where they are. With good grades, teacher Scott Frank saw it as an opportunity to speak the language of the youth. 

She has made online videos on key topics in her history studies at IDEA Frontier College Prep in Brownsville, TX. Frank’s YouTube channel became a permanent bank student who could be referred to while studying or doing homework. His biological counterpart made short videos for TikTok and gave bonus points to viewers watching. For these teachers, the language of communication became a friendly request that they gladly accepted. Check out the best practice and see the full list of 2021 College Success.

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