ACE Learning Centers Focus on Student, Parent and Community Needs
Visiting the ACE Learning Centers at the beginning of each school year is a favorite experience for me. Not only do I learn what each ACE Learning Center is doing, but there is a great sense of how they really make a difference to individual students, teachers, parents and their communities. This year it is even more so about the individual.
With school back in the classroom (for the most part) this year after the pandemic’s virtual instruction year, educators noticed there was a learning gap. Many students were behind on learning English, math and other topics. Some of this was because learning virtually can be a challenge for students, but added challenges were not having a good place to participate in a class when in a crowded home, no useful desk, or bad or no internet access. Many students also worked to help add to the family income which made paying attention to school a challenge.
The response? Move on. Focus on each individual needs today. Value each student and their individual qualities. Fight to solve the educational (and social-economic) problems created or exacerbated by the pandemic. With this attitude, the educators believe students will catch up on what counts for them. Here’s what each ACE Learning Center is doing to meet these goals:
Oakland International High School
Parents will continue to have access to English classes taught by Refugee Transitions, and students will still have literacy and math support, but an Internship Class will be added to help support students wanting to expand job talents. KDOL television has been a long-time internship partner as has Parks and Rec, but more will be added. Wellness Ambassadors will be an important part of this program and will provide student vision and voice to creating school programming that is genuinely responsive to student needs. There will be 10th and 11th grade career support classes and career exploration classes. There will also be a pilot program for night students and a Saturday school for students to earn credits and receive socio-emotional services in hours better suited to the demands of their life/work schedules.
San Francisco International High School
Literacy Classes are even more important and use self-directed and teacher directed curriculum allowing students to learn at their own pace. Student classes I recently visited had groups of students matching pictures with the English phrase which helps memory and learning of English. There is a lot of oral practice, and the teachers make it fun by using rhythmic chants such as, “California is my state. San Francisco is my city” or “How was your weekend? My weekend was great.” Coding classes continue too. The Span program will be expanded to better assist students who have worked full time while trying to finish graduation requirements. There’s an Advisory Class that helps with skills necessary for graduation and entry to college or vocational training post-high school. Additional counseling/mentoring support will also be available through one-on-one and group programs. Plus there will be programs that work to connect and engage the families. Community meetings will be held several times each semester along with cultural nights to bring families together.
Alpha Public Schools
The Alpha Parent Center will continue to offer English classes to parents at the school. The parents will also have Leadership classes where they learn to manage their children’s education better and maneuver positively through school and work organizations, while Career Programming will help parents and students understand available career paths. Students are supported with the Dream Club that provides events and conferences where students learn how to become better citizens and support their community. This year Alpha will provide mentorship and career skills classes and will develop a mentor program to support students pursuing and persisting in higher education.
KALW Audio Academy
The 2021/2022 Audio Academy class has been chosen and already has had their first lesson on learning about audio tools for recording interviews. The Audio Academy news team will continue to report on the amazing diversity, equity and inclusion stories of the Bay Area as they learn the skills of community reporting.
Stay tuned for the many great stories about the ACE Learning Centers as they share best practices, tell personal stories and connect with the resources for having a successful 2021/2022 school year.