If the pandemic didn’t throw you for a loop last week, the snow definitely did. Snow in September? Really, 2020? Just as we were beginning to think we’ve seen it all this year.
Things might feel upside down, but one thing is clear – whatever craziness comes our way, Impact on Education will be here for the students in our community. We might be scratching our heads along the way, just like the rest of you, but we won’t skip a beat in ensuring our students’ needs are met.
If we’ve learned anything, it’s that this is an evolving year. Our funding priorities and the ways we support students have had to shift and will continue to adjust to respond to the changing nature of school operations. We recognize that nothing is certain right now, and we are committed to making sure that our work at IoE continues to shift accordingly.
That’s why we’re continuing to focus our efforts on meeting critical needs this year. Our Critical Needs Fund, established in March, will remain our primary focus this school year. We are committed to ensuring the following:
Pre-COVID, we knew that we had a digital divide in our community among those who had internet access at home and those who didn’t. Since the pandemic forced school buildings to close and a shift to remote learning, this divide has become a primary focus. Virtual learning requires steady, reliable internet access and computers. We are proud to say that, in partnership with BVSD IT, Impact on Education is ensuring that every student in BVSD has a computer and reliable home internet.
Many students rely on school for breakfast, lunch, and weekend nutrition. That’s why, with our partners at BVSD Food Services, we’re ensuring that students and their families receive nutritious food while out of school. Hungry stomachs can’t learn, and we don’t expect them to.
Food is distributed every Monday from 9-11 A.M and 4-6 P.M at seven school locations across the District. For more info, check out the BVSD School Food Project website.
Student Academic Support
In order to adapt and respond to extraordinary student needs and circumstances and based on feedback from BVSD principals, we’re replacing our Opportunity Fund with a Student Academic Support Fund this year. We know that schools will learn about specific student needs as the year progresses, so we have created a new way to offer academic support on a rolling basis to those students facing financial hardship. We anticipate supporting students by covering the costs for class or elective fees, providing academic tutoring, and purchasing supplemental equipment, technology, or support. We are rolling this out on a pilot basis through December, when we will evaluate and make any program tweaks needed to continue meeting these needs in the spring of 2021. Requests must come from school principals or principal assistants, so students facing financial hardship should reach out to their school administration to request assistance.
In these trying times, we are also focusing our efforts on ensuring that students don’t fall behind and that they stay engaged in their classes. We committed to providing 5,000 hours of additional instructional time to support learners who may be falling behind. And we are working in partnership with Community Schools and BVSD’s student engagement team to be sure that every student stays engaged in their work this year.
While we are proud of the ways we are able to assist students and support our local schools, we know that students and families often have needs that stretch far beyond what the schools or our Foundation can do to assist. Fortunately, there are great resources available for those in need in our community. Whether you need resources yourself or you are trying to learn about resources available to help others, this list assembled by Ema Lyman, one of our fantastic Board members, offers comprehensive resources for those in need of housing assistance, employment services, transportation resources, medical assistance, crisis support, food, clothing and countless other emergency needs.
Working together, we know that we will get through this pandemic. Current students are our future leaders, and their lives are being shaped by our community’s response to this crisis. With the support of an incredible community of donors and supporters, we are able to support these students in big and small ways each and every day. We hope that our collective efforts will inspire a new generation of problem solvers and creative thinkers who will lead us all to a brighter future.