Elevate Works During Challenging Times

December 2020 - Our work during COVD

This Holiday Season brings great joy and great challenges. 

Thanksgiving – we are grateful that we have weathered the COVD setbacks and are going strong, fully staffed and teaching our Elevate students every day, all day. 

Challenges – Teachers are Essential community servants.  Not only do they instruct our students but they also deal with serious mental health and domestic issues of our students that have increased this year. 

But our Elevate Teachers are well trained and well equipped. 

 

We began Elevate at Raines High School in January 2019, and opened up Ribault HS in January 2020. . 

 

Then COVD changed our world in March 2020

·     Following spring break in March 2020, our teaching methods were drastically altered to an on-line teaching modality via Microsoft Teams.  Our teachers had to learn a totally new approach to teaching within one week.

·     Our Elevate Teachers conducted their classes via Microsoft Teams from March to the end of school year.

·     Our visits to the elementary schools was cancelled.

·     All of our incentive field trips were cancelled. This affected our face-to-face “adventure” activities that provided our students with visits to MOSH, the beach, City Hall, Johnson YMCA, etc.

·     Summer Camps:  we conducted live in-person summer camps right here in Jax for six weeks utilizing the facilities of “Church of 11:22” in Arlington.  They not only provided the space to do activities which followed all CDC requirements, but the church provided breakfast and lunch every day.  BTW, no one got the virus.​

 

Our one-on-one mentoring with students and after-school small group sessions were changed to Zoom and phone calls.  This approach helped us to discover their real and felt needs - real needs, like no food nor electricity, and felt needs like loneliness, safety, and abandonment. 

​School is once again open.  Here is what students are saying:

“Staying after school was fun. I was able to be myself and open up to others and make new friends.” Terrilyn D.

“Elevate has impacted me because the class and teachers give me a safe place and chill setting. Yes, it is still a working environment but it’s different than other classrooms.” Nataisha S.

“Elevate is a class that allows me to express myself.” -Jordyn L.

“This class has made me feel welcome at all times, I can be myself and I feel comfortable to say how I feel.” Tylik A.

“To me Elevate means to Rise and keep going forward. I have learned more personal character traits.” Luther F.

“Elevate means to raise the bar on what you strive for in your career, family, and the community around you. -Aysia H.

 

Outcomes/ Results: (from an independent third-party evaluator)

Our Elevate students are matriculating (promoted to next grade) above the state and national average.  This is significant given that our students are the “bubble” students, the “top half of the bottom half”.  During this time, we have walked our students through vulnerable situations striving to live with too much free time and too little resources.  But our students have shown us the power of their resiliency, fortitude, and grit. We love them, and they will become a smashing success.

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Thanks for your time and support.

Jon Heymann