In a period of economic uncertainty with shifting job markets and employment opportunities that are evaporating in some places and springing to life in others, education remains one of the best investments people can make.
DALLAS, TX, May 21, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — At Uplift Education, we are excited to re-engage with our students in a safe in-person learning environment this July for summer school. We know that our students and parents appreciate the special learning community that Uplift provides, and our teachers look forward to working closely with families! We know staff members and parents are eager to have and provide small-group instruction for up to six students per classroom.
“Our students have not been in school for the last quarter, and although we provided a robust online program, we know it’s not the same for every student. We know students are not moving as quickly and learning as much as an in-class experience. Summer school this year takes on an added importance. It provides us with the opportunity to get in front of students and strengthen their skills and get them ready for the fall,” said Uplift CEO Yasmin Bhatia.
Preliminary COVID data by NWEA MAP test suggest students will return in fall 2020 with roughly 70% of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year. In mathematics, students are likely to show even smaller learning gains, returning with less than 50% of the learning gains and in some grades, nearly a full year behind what we would observe in normal conditions.
These small class sizes provided by Uplift will allow our students to have intentional and individualized instruction in both math and reading and will allow us to implement procedures that address student health and safety. We will also offer virtual options at flexible times throughout the day that cover the same content for scholars who choose not to or are unable to attend in person. We believe that this is a safe and balanced way to get our scholars back for in-person learning, to address any learning loss caused by school closure, and to accelerate scholar learning. As one of the only area school districts to offer both in-person and virtual learning models this summer, Uplift will have the opportunity to learn from this implementation to inform our practices for the fall semester.
We are equipped to deep clean and disinfect our classrooms daily and will provide hand sanitizers to scholars and staff. In addition to allowing only 6 students per classroom, teachers and students will be encouraged to wear masks, and will abide by the 6-foot distance rule at all times.
Uplift will focus on the following:
• Ensuring that we all value our commitment to working as one team while being responsive and innovative in our approach to teaching and learning. We are prepared both to remediate learning loss and accelerate growth and are building new practices that allow for flexible learning environments in the event that we experience another school closure.
• Ensuring that we act with compassion in understanding the needs of our families and students while also ensuring that we do not lower our bar of expectations, but rather that we work harder to understand and meet their needs so that we prepare our students for success in college and life beyond the pandemic.
• Ensuring that we acknowledge our need for connection as a learning community. We were forced to work remotely and to be away from our students unexpectedly and must be intentional and safe in reconnecting as a community to help propel the work forward in a way that honors our humanity and our need to be seen, heard, and valued.
We are aware that quickly switching to video-based/paper-based learning for our youngest students and leveraging virtual remote learning platforms (students in grades 3-12) in March was not ideal given that we hadn’t had time to orient students to this new way of engaging in learning. We know that some students could not engage in learning at high levels, if at all, due to a myriad of personal circumstances. We designed our SY19-20 instructional practice and curriculum for in-person facilitation and our in-person instructional practices were difficult to duplicate on a virtual platform. Moreover, we are a network committed to developing the whole student. During remote learning, our students have not had the same number of opportunities to develop pro-social skills, nor have they regularly received both learning and social-emotional supports at the same rate as if we were in school. Despite our efforts to increase small group instruction for our students who need it most and to find innovative efforts to meet our students social-emotional needs, we know that we can do a better job going into next year. In response, we are ready to empower our students with both academic and pro-social skill development this summer and to equip them to have a strong start to the upcoming school year.
Our Summer Institute’s purpose will not change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As an International Baccalaureate network of schools, our core responsibilities are to our students, staff and families. We are proud as a network to be able to think outside the box and come up with the best way to support our families during this hard time.
The design of our Uplift summer learning programming falls into two categories: Self-Paced, Independent Learning and Teacher-Led. Please visit our website to learn more: www.uplifteducation.org/summersmart.
Uplift Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the lives of teachers, families, and, most importantly, students. With a network of 43 college preparatory, public charter schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Uplift offers students of any background the powerful chance to study within a multidisciplinary curriculum and prepare for the college or career they deserve. Uplift is the largest International Baccalaureate (IB) district in Texas and the #2 IB district in the nation because of the number of holistic extracurricular and educational programs. The incredible educators in the Uplift network guide and teach nearly 20,000 students in Pre-K- 12th grades, with the majority being low-income and minority students who will be the first in their family to attend college. For more information Uplift’s mission and its blind lottery selection system, visit uplifteducation.org or facebook.com/uplifteducation.
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