A few weeks ago we shared key takeaways from the last three months of the school year using distance learning with our CHSS Partner, Arvada High School. Today, we share observations and practices that worked well in terms of engaging students online from another CHSS partner, Pueblo 60 School District. Read on to see what Student Engagement Coordinators, Danielle Gibson and Theresa Madrill, said worked to reach students who didn’t initially engage in online learning, how Pueblo focused on engaging students who were failing courses or chronically absent prior to school building closures, and how to best support students learning in the upcoming school year.
What are the most common challenges students and families are voicing?
- Students and parents are missing the community aspect of school, i.e. friends, teachers, etc.
- Direct instruction from teachers
- Difficulty accessing support when students are struggling (initial issue, but has begun to resolve)
What activities have been successful in reaching students who didn’t initially engage in online learning, but you were able to find them and re-engage them?
- Personal phone calls to every student
- Frequent district-wide automated phone calls to share mass information, resources, and offer ways to contact. (food, tech)
- Utilizing social media, district-wide and HS specific, to communicate to students and families (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
What has been successful in supporting participation of students who were failing courses and/or were chronically absent prior to school closure?
- Individual personalized weekly check-in and goal setting meetings
- Identify student strengths and utilize them
- Identify exterior barriers that hinder success (family, mental health, poverty)
- Allow students to mess up and give them a safe place to start over again.
Working as a team with Community Advocate and Counselors to provide updated information and support as a cohesive unit.
- Phone calls home to family members or in person meetings to show support, share information and offer services.
If online learning continues next year or re-starts with a second wave of the pandemic, what advice do you have to ensure that our most at-risk students are engaged in school? What have we learned from the past two months?
- Leverage strong personal relationships built before school closures - teachers, advocates, engagement coordinators, nurses, etc., to make intentional outreach to students.
- Think outside of the box with solutions, including assessments, grading policies (incompletes entered into gradebook instead of 0s), and assignments in order to best support students while at a distance.