Every week, America Forward is highlighting a few examples of the vital work being done by our Coalition members to support students, families, educators, workers, elected leaders, advocates, and communities across the country. If your organization has resources, an announcement, or a story that you would like to see included, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The First 72+
During the COVID-19 pandemic, The First 72+ has continued their critical work serving formerly incarcerated folks and their families, working to end cycles of incarceration and empowering self-sustainability for those going through the re-entry experience. They have moved appointments from in-person to over-the-phone and held reentry clinics on legal, public benefits, housing, employment, and financial issues. They are offering grocery, meal, and prescription drug delivery services; suspended loan payments; and have converted their communal loan fund into an emergency grant fund. Additionally, they transformed their “Rising Foundations Small Business Incubator” into a remote learning classroom and bought computers and hot spots for their community to continue classes.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, educators and school leaders across the country have worked to navigate the shift to distance learning — one that is likely to continue as we move into the fall. In an effort to help teachers and administrators managing these virtual transitions, Leading Educators is offering Virtual Teacher Support in the form of a webinar hosted by Leading Educators leaders and Jennie Magiera, Google’s Global Head of Education Impact. The webinar discusses “strategies and best practices for planning, development, and delivery of virtual professional development that works,” focusing on key components to strengthen online learning.
In response to the pandemic, Instruction Partners launched a COVID-19 School Resource Hub, an online database full of comprehensive resources to help school leaders and communities navigate this crisis. As conversations around COVID-19 and summer learning loss take place, and school reopenings continue, this resource is more valuable than ever. The resource hub includes ready-made summer learning materials for rising 1st through 6th grade students; leadership toolkits to help schools manage distance learning and reentry toolkits to help schools prepare for a return to classrooms this fall; a series of COVID-19 support videos; models to guide distance learning across various school subjects; health, safety, and nutrition information, and more.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to surge in communities across the nation, heading to the polls this fall is likely to remain a health risk. The People is working to prevent folks from having to choose between their safety and civic engagement by offering a comprehensive Vote at Home FAQ. They explain what a vote by mail system is, why voting from home may be necessary, how mail balloting works, and more resources for participating in remote voting this fall.
Like many state programs and service providers, young parent programs have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. As these programs work to adjust to the COVID-19 landscape, Third Sector offers valuable insights for advancing outcomes-oriented, evidence-based practices. As part of the Southeastern Cohort on Young Parents and Families, Third Sector “summarized insights from studies that evaluated over 100 evidence-based, young parent support programs across the United States,” based on research and real-time learning, that can be used to “better enable young parents and their families to overcome challenges and leverage their potential and assets to achieve family stability and economic well-being.”
Innovate Public Schools
As the COVID-19 crisis converges with continued calls for systemic change to advance racial justice, Innovate Public Schools’ work to effectively engage parents and ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education is as important as ever. Their Community Organizer Training Program is designed to equip and train parents with the organizing tools and resources necessary to affect education policy change and meet the needs of this moment. As schools develop plans for reshaping our education systems and returning to classrooms this fall, parent leadership will play a critical role in “building the necessary power to create and sustain change, using both traditional and online organizing tools.”
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Michelson 20MM has remained committed to serving their communities, focusing on new target areas to maximize their impact during the pandemic including improving emergency student aid distribution, closing the digital divide, and accelerating online education. Additionally, they have implemented COVID-19 spark grants “to advance efforts for addressing the needs of postsecondary organizations scrambling to support our students” and launched a series of webinars, in partnership with OpenSax, to serve as resources for educators and school leaders as they continue to navigate this crisis and prepare for a return to learning this fall.
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