Education in the age of the Covid-19 pandemic is anything but usual. Many students, especially those in low-income, working immigrant families have found themselves forced to attend school virtually with little or no help.
Those familiar with our immigrant populations know that first generation kids and immigrant kids are often times left to navigate the system on their own. Even during a normal school year, students from immigrant families struggle, and many fall behind on schoolwork due to internet issues or simply language barriers.
Now, factor in the circumstances that COVID-19 has forced us into. Many students are left by themselves; it is up to them to log into class or do homework as parents are forced to make the impossible choice of either putting food on the table or staying home and making sure their kids are attending class and doing their work.
Mamadou, an 8th-grader in the African Leadership Group pandemic pod told me: “At home, my internet was slow and I would miss the instructions and I fall behind on homework.”
Lydia, a 4th-grader at Aurora Quest said: “At home, I used to have tech problems, and if my parents are working my grandma can’t help.” Now that she is attending the ALG pod, if I have tech problems I can just ask Ousman for help.”
Our pod also goes beyond academics. Kids need a strong social environment for early childhood growth. Our pod not only helps these kids, but it provides a safe place for them. Everyone attending the pod has been part of the ALG’s Youth Empowerment Group. Smiling Lydia tells me, “it’s like going to school, we wake up early, we get dressed and we drive here. Also, we get to play with friends during recess.”
Think of the ALG pod as an innovative school that strives to meet the needs of every kid. Kids from first to ninth grade come in everyday from Aurora and Denver. They are only asking for assistance, for someone to be there and help them through the internet and technology issues, and with their homework.
ALG has successfully recreated the school ambiance in a safe manner, all in service to the community.
As one parent told me: “It’s been great to be able to go to work and not have to worry about whether my kids are attending class, or if the internet is working at home.”
The best way to improve our education system is to listen to parents’ needs, because they know what is best for their kids.
Here is a recent video about our Online Schooling Support Program.
Video Credit: RootED