Welcome to the New School Year Where ACE Learning Centers Keep Up the Good Work
By Martha Sessums, President, ACE
Education has its challenges this new school year. Many students are learning from home and classes are online or via video conferences with teachers and classmates.
But making connections isn’t easy. Personal connections with friends, teachers or counselors is tough when their images are on a screen or a bunch of small boxes on a screen. Plus, in order to have access to an online class the network connection becomes key. The device any student is working on must function well and it must be connected to an operating network. No network. No school.
Through the changing times that started in March, the ACE Learning Centers retooled their efforts to support their learning communities. The KALW Audio Academy students learned reporting skills on Zoom with the radio station’s editors and management, and then prepared important, newsworthy audio stories that were broadcast. They also had their graduation ceremony online. The new Audio Academy class of 2020/21 has been chosen and students will start their lessons soon – also online.
The Parent Learning Center at Alpha Public Schools moved English classes online and offered Chromebooks to adult students. They also created the Alpha Family Emergency Fund that raised money to give to families that were forced to stop working because their jobs were closed. The Food Bank sponsored by the Parent Learning Center started distributing food to almost double the number of families and instituted drive-thru to keep everyone safe. These needs will continue to be met for the new school year.
The Oakland International High School (OIHS) ACE Learning Center also moved classes and connections online for students and included weekly phone calls to check on overall well-being for some students. Families were referred to wellness services including Food Banks. For students, there was tablet distribution and internet access support so they could continue to attend classes virtually and earn credits to graduate and complete community college classes.
As Lauren Markham, Director, OIHS Learning Lab, said, “At a time when newly arrived immigrants are demonized and when low-income communities across the US struggle mightily to weather this pandemic and its massive fallouts, we are proud to be a source of stability, support and community connection for our students and families during these unprecedented times.”
One focus of the San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) ACE Learning Center is classes for English and math skills. With the move to distance learning, it was essential that students had access to computers and network connections, and even one-on-one support was provided online. With the SPAN program, many of the students are returning to colleges this new school year and will continue to connect with online advisors and coach SFIHS graduates that are first-year college students as mentors.
Each one of these ACE Learning Centers has had to rethink their processes in new and creative ways to meet this new school year’s challenges. From a wide variety of online classes to equipment to network connections to support for economic and emotional stress, the ACE Learning Centers have delivered and will continue to deliver. ACE is honored to be able to support these amazing professionals who make real connections.
Stay tuned for many stories of students and parents who excel with the help of the teachers and administrators at ACE Learning Centers. These stories will show off everyone’s challenges and successes.