Elevate Works During Challenging Times

September 2020 - Our work during COVD, and our Results

We began Elevate at Raines High School with 91 students in January 2019, and opened up Ribault HS with 78 students in January 2020. . 


Then COVD changed our world in March 2020

  • Following spring break in March 2020, and because of COVD, our teaching method was 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.

  • Summer Camps:  we conducted live in-person summer camp right here in Jax for six weeks following all CDC requirements.

Our daily classroom activities were drastically altered for the remainder of our school year and 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.


Our relationship-building  activities, such as one-on-one mentoring and our after-school small group sessions, compelled us to alter our approach from face-to-face mentoring to connecting with ALL our students via 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.  We even gave one-time $500 stipends to 12 qualifying families who needed emergency assistance. 

COVD played a major role in cancelling many summer activities, like summer camps.  While many non-profits provided on-line and virtual summer experiences, we did six weeks of face-to-face summer camps 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.  By the way, no one got the virus.​

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 third quartile, 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.

Description of the Work --

The magic is in the simple program design: placing full-time “Teacher/Mentors” in public school classrooms:

  • They teach a state approved elective course (13 character and life skills); and

  • They mentor these students during afterschool, weekends, and summer.

  • They link students to community partners such as YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc, Young Life, CIS and other youth serving organizations in order to create a seamless garment of safety-net services.

Thanks for your time and support.

Jon Heymann

©2020 by Elevate Jacksonville