Last week, we completed our first week of online classes. It was an awesome experience to see our students reconnecting with their classmates and teachers. For many, this was the first time they have seen each other since our school buildings closed in March. The expressions of joy were priceless.
Take a Break with Brooke
This Friday at 12:30 pm, Brooke King, Executive Director of the Intergenerational Schools and parent to three Near West students, will be speaking with the community on Facebook Live! Tune in to hear her deliver an update on on how the Intergens are reconnecting with students and families while staying safe at home. Have a question for Brooke?Head over to the the Facebook Event page and place it under discussion.
As we remain physically distant, it has been even more important to maintain social connections for our students. Creating connections is the foundation of our mission and education model. During the typical school year, we begin each day strengthening these bonds during Morning Meeting. We are continuing this practice by hosting an online class meeting each day.
In a survey to families, many parents highlighted the online class meetings as their child's favorite part of the week. One parent said:
"The week went well with the Zoom Calls which gave the students and teacher a chance to share sometime together. The Distance Learning was a good idea for continuation of learning. Plus, students are able to ask questions if having difficulties with an assignment and the parent is not sure of what the right answer might be."
Keeping our Students Safe Online
This week we started a series called Tech Tuesday. In the spirit of lifelong learning, each week we are providing our families with information on how to navigate technology. This week, the series began with an update on our internet safety protocols and measures we've put in place to help prevent their child from being exposed to inappropriate content.
Most of our classes are using ZOOM to connect during online meetings. As “Zoombombing” has become more prevalent, we have incorporated protocols to make sure we are only letting students and trusted adults into the meeting. Links to classes are not widely shared and participants are placed in a waiting room until the teacher lets them into the virtual space. Also, we are using a software program called GoGuardian, which helps notify our schools of potentially inappropriate words or pictures being searched or accessed while logged into their student Google account. If the school gets a notice of potentially inappropriate content, a staff member will call the caregiver to notify them of the alert.
It Takes a Community to Educate a Child
We are thankful to have such a deeply committed community of caregivers, teachers and administrators. By the end of the week, we were able to connect with 98% of our student body and working to reach 100%! For those students who were unable to connect right away, we continue to reach out to them. We are getting through these difficult times together, for our children.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to offer support to our students. COVID-19 continues to cause economic hardships on our societies most vulnerable and underrepresented populations. As an urban public school, we have always been there to provide support and resources to our students and their families. During the school year, all of our students receive free lunch and breakfast. We also connect our families to crisis intervention and routine mental health services. When these immediate needs are not met, education suffers.
Please help us continue to be a strong, stable, and trusted resource for children and their families by making your gift today. You support is greatly needed and appreciated.