Classroom Heroes Inspiring Schools Extraordinary Students

(MILWAUKEE) We’ve all heard of college signing days for athletes but a school full of high-risk kids is celebrating an “Academic Signing Day” after earning over $7 million collectively in academic scholarship opportunities! Even though the odds were stacked against these inner-city teens, they made it to the finish line through big challenges and a pandemic.

Nasondra Johnson leads her senior class at Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy in a senior celebration like you’ve never seen before.

“In the fall I’ll be attending Marquette University.”

“University Wisconsin, Madison!”

“Cleveland State in the fall!”

“College!”

“Let’s go let’s go!”

Cheers and tears, and a room bursting with pride.

The excitement is certainly justified as each student in the class of 2022, one by one, walks up to the podium announcing staggering amounts in academic scholarship offerings they’ve earned…

“After receiving 20 college acceptances…”

Followed by which college or university they’ve picked!

“I will be attending Jackson State University!”

“All we see on TV and hear on the radio is the negative about young black people,” said Dr. Howard Fuller, school founder. “What you get to do today is celebrate the good stuff!”

The charter school sits in a rough area of the city and was started nearly 20 years ago by Doctor Howard Fuller a staunch school choice advocate.

Parent choice has never been the issue in this country,” said Fuller. “The issue has been who has it.”

Knowing the education options have always been limited in areas like this one and the academic outcomes are usually bleak for students of color, Dr. Fuller started his own school with tremendous results year after year.

“100 precent college acceptance by graduating seniors,” said Judith Parker, principal. “$ 7 million in offered scholarships.”

“32 college acceptances over $600,000 in scholarship money,” said Nasondra Johnson, HFCA Class of 2022.

” I was in tears and just had a chilling feeling go through my body when I see all of the students,” said Rhonda Hill, parent.

” After receiving 19 college acceptances … over $500,000 in scholarships.”

“It’s a real good feeling to announce your accomplishment and what you are doing,” said Ashton Gonzales, HFCA Class of 2022. “I will be attending UW Milwaukee.”

“How did it feel to stand up there and tell everyone where you’re going,” said Amari Hinton, HFCA Class of 2022. “I was a little nervous at first, but when i got up there it felt good, because I am the first kid in my family to ever go to college. It was great, I tried not to tear up because I am emotional. I’ve been through a lot; I didn’t have a dad in my life my mom was the only person who was always there for me so.”

Fighting through life’s challenges and a pandemic, to be able to stand here today makes this year’s Academic Signing Day celebration extra special.

“There’s all kinds of stuff going on in this country, and so for me to see a group of young people cut through all of that, fight through all of that get to this point in their life, it’s huge,” said Fuller.

“Everybody did their thing proud of everybody class of 2022 we out!”

Every year the high energy Academic Signing Day event is held, and Dr. Fuller makes sure all under-class men are in the audience as well so they can start envisioning the same successful outcomes.

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Brother Sister Welding Team / Career Training

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When a brother and sister sign up for a welding class, at a local technology school, there’s a bit of sibling rivalry of course, but also an exposure to a career with unlimited possibilities Kim Martinez reports.

Alex Anderman / Adult Welding Student
”I’m a skateboarder. I’ve been skateboarding for three years, sponsored.

Skater girl… Alex Anderman, is not alone in her social media fame…. In fact…..she shares the spotlight with her brother Tristan who is one of the best pro scooter riders in the world.

“For a couple of years I got to travel the world riding, I got to go to all these different countries competing.

uhhh it’s on instragram…
33-thousand maybe four hundred something like that.

"But now this brother and sister have teamed up to take on something new together..

Alex Anderman / Adult Welding Student
"Welding," I’m going to welding school. Hahah" Along with dozens of other adult students, they’ve gone back to school to learn the skill of welding.

Tristan Anderman / Welding Student
“She’s always been kinda more of a tomboy I guess you could say.”
East Valley Institute of Technology / Mesa, AZ
Tomboy or not, the brother sister team is taking advantage of a unique opportunity at the East Valley Institute of Technology, or EVIT. They’re attending hands on classes, geared toward becoming certified in welding.
Clip 0041 nick and that student
Instructor Nicholas Vogele left a career in Welding to teach at EVIT, and he says the adult classes attract all types of students.

Nicholas Vogele / Welding Instructor EVIT
“We get a lot of people that come in and want to learn how to weld because they want to build a hot rod or a Harley or something like that. Or a chopper .
“we also get plenty of students that are trying to make a career out of it.”
“welding is a really good career to go into as far as pay. Uhm, everywhere is hiring right now.”

And a career in welding can end up being a lot more lucrative than many may think..

“19 or 20 entry level than after a few months then promise to give you a few more dollars an hour :05 if you want to go into underwater welding or out on the road working pipeline you can make over 100 grand a year easily. :11 if you want to go out of the country or to Alaska to work on a pipeline, you can make just under 1 million dollars a year.”

Big money to be made in a skilled trade they’re both really enjoying going after together!

"It’s fascinating for sure, because every little thing of the welding process is different for sure from stick welding to mig welding to tig welding they’re all their own thing 1:11 and then there’s the plasma and oxi fuel cutting and stuff like that, so there’s just all sorts of different aspects you can do."

"Maybe potentially to open a business one day. That would be the big goal ."

A shared love of welding “bonding” the siblings even tighter.. and “sparking” som exciting future plans! Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Nicholas Vogele / Welding Instructor EVIT 1:13

Classroom Hero Teacher at D.C. Safe Haven School

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When it comes to paying it forward, a young teacher in Washington D.C. is at the head of the line. This young classroom hero has returned to the school that gave him a step up to help mentor kids from his neighborhood who are only a few years younger than he is. Kim Martinez reports.

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Jonathan Powell /Dean of Students

“He’s literally walked as in the same shoes as many of our students  so he has the unique ability to speak into their lives and relate to them.”

Jonathan Powell, Dean of Students, is talking about former student Michael White, who is now a part-time teacher at Cornerstone School. A special little private school serving the community in one of the most violent wards in D.C..

“A lot of the schools around here aren’t great.”

Many of the kids who attend this school are using the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program to cover their tuition, the same program that White used when he was a student.

“Go ahead and stop it, stop your timer.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting

“Michael says that Cornerstone is known in a very rough part of D.C. for raising the education bar and he’s happy to be a part of it.”

Michael White/ Teacher

“Being in the position to do what my teachers did for me, back then is truly an honor and I’m just happy that the principal and the leadership team here at Cornerstone would give me the ability to do that.”

Jonathan Powell /Dean of Students

“It’s huge to be able to envision yourself, being successful.”

The school has always been known as a safe-haven compared to what happens in the surrounding neighborhood. Michael remembers how scary one walk to school was for him as a teen.

“The guy pulls a gun out on me in broad daylight

Michael got robbed that day, but he made it to school safely. Once inside these walls, Cornerstone kids say they feel safe to learn.

“We know that this s can be a safe-haven for those kids, who don’t have any other place , where they can consider safe, so much so there are kids who just want to come to school because they know they won’t be in any danger.”

Michael also helps keep Cornerstone kids engaged and off the streets. In fact, he’s coached two championship basketball teams showing the kids it doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s where you’re going.”

“I know that it’s a good thing that they can look up to me and look up to other staff members and say, this is the type of person that I want to be.”

Kim Martinez , Reporting.

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High Tech High

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Not all students learn best in the same settings. In California, that belief has led to the development of a different type of school, that’s proving to be just what some students need to find inspiration.

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Elmar Javadov / Senior
“It’s very different from other schools. I think the best way to put it is it took a risk to be as diverse as it is right now.”

Elmar (ell-mar) Javadov’s (jah-va-dove) Innovative high school, is High Tech High, Media Arts.

High Tech High School /San Diego, CA
The San Diego school is part of a network of High Tech Schools. They’re independent, public charter schools, with each offering a different focus for students, all with the idea of “Connecting Classrooms to the World.”

At High Tech High, Media Arts, the college prep also has  an emphasis on creativity.

Paul Yumbla / High Tech High School / Director
“I would say we are really hands on, we are really collaborative we are really focused on project work and making sure that students kind of take ownership of their learning and it’s student centered as opposed to teacher centered like in some more traditional schools. “

“Deeper learning, peer to peer collaboration, cross discipline, as well as publicly displaying our students learning, in the hopes that they can really excel in their passions and their interest. “

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“One of the most successful project based endeavors at High Tech High is furniture making, that means making intricate and well-designed pieces like these and auctioning them off, for charity.”

Karla Vasquez / Senior
”I think this school has mainly  helped me find my true passions.”

“There’s so much freedom of expression in your work .”

Everywhere you look at High Tech High Media Arts, you’ll find students working on different forms of the arts.

But even their traditional subjects are approached with creativity.
“It’s a poem to ourselves because it’s English.”

The same advisor is with students through-out their four year journey and they are in contact with parents through in-home visits.
Maggie Fragoso / Mother

“I’m really proud of him and that he is going to college, I’m really proud of him.”

Using standard metrics, such as SAT scores and it’s 85 percent college acceptance rate, High Tech High, is deemed a High Performance School.

“It might look different but I think we are moving the needle forward around those conversations as to what learning could look like.”

An innovative school mixing creative outlets with rigorous academics as well. Kim Martinez reporting.

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High Tech High School / San Diego, CA    00:14
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Kim Martinez / Reporting. 00:54
Maggie Fragoso / Mother. 1:35

Classical Education for Diverse Students

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In one ethnically and economically diverse community, many had doubts that their students would be able to tackle a rigorous curriculum based on the classics. But as it turns out, the students are rising to the challenge and really learning to understand even the most complex writings. Kim Martinez reports.

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“So this has the added benefit of concealing identities, what could possibly go wrong?”

Bishop Machebeuf High School / Denver, Colorado

Teacher Ralph Pesce (Pess-ee) engages high schoolers to really dig in and think about classical literature.
Reading the classics is part of the integrated humanities curriculum at Bishop Machebeuff (Match-buff) High School in Denver, a school serving many economically challenged and ethnically diverse students.

Ralph Pesce/ Teacher

“Studying the history, studying the literature, and the reason we do that is we really want to see an integrated formation and understanding of how society has developed over time.”

But when the effort to change over first came up four years ago, Assistant Principal, Harold Siegel (Seagul) admits it was risky because not everyone was sold on the idea.

Harold Siegel / Assistant Principal
"There were two groups of naysayers one were the ones that wanted a traditional AP curriculum. 1:08 so they wanted to be working towards, teaching towards a test. The other were the ones who said this is too difficult this is not what my student is used to, my son or daughter is used to, it’s far to challenging, it’s far too difficult."

“Ready to stand to smooth that rough touch.”

Sean McGarrity, a senior, along with his mother are both believers now in the curriculum upgrade.

Sonia McGarrity / Parent
“I remember in elementary school, trying to get Sean to read poetry, Sean played football, football players don’t read poetry mom !n Right !! This year he became a lover of poetry and a lover of Shakespeare.”

Elizabeth Gallegos, a senior, credits the curriculum for helping her win a four year scholarship to the university of her choosing.

Elizabeth Gallegos / Senior
“Definitely helped as I was writing these applications, not just for the scholarship, but to a lot of the schools I was applying to.”

A school that challenges and academically elevates students no matter what socio-economic background they come from.

“Whether its literature whether its history whether it’s politics whether it’s just social sciences we want them to be able to articulate and ponder things a classical education does that.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

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Bishop Machebeuf High School / Denver, Colorado @ 00:01
Ralph Pesce/ Teacher @ 00:24
Harold Siegel / Assistant Principal 00:45
Sonia McGarrity / Parent @ 1:13
Elizabeth Gallegos / Senior  @ 1:39

Academic Signing Day for Inner-City Graduates

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We've all heard of College Signing Days for athletes but a school full of high-risk kids is celebrating an "Academic Signing Day" after earning over 7 million dollars collectively in academic scholarship opportunities! Even though the odds were stacked against these inner-city teens, they made it to the finish line through big challenges and a pandemic. Kim Martinez reports.

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Milwaukee, WI

Nasondra Johnson leads her senior class at Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy in a senior celebration like you’ve never seen before…

Academic Signing Day / Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy

"In the fall I'll be attending Marquette University."

"University Wisconsin, Madison !"

"Cleveland State in the fall !"

"College !"

Lets go lets go !

Cheers and tears, and a room bursting with pride.

The excitement is certainly justified as each student in the class of 2022, one by one, walks up to the podium announcing staggering amounts in academic scholarship offerings they’ve earned…

"After receiving 20 college acceptances..."

Followed by which college or university they’ve picked!

"I will be attending Jackson State University!"

Dr. Howard Fuller / School Founder

"All we see on TV and hear on the radio is the negative about young black people. What you get to do today is celebrate the good stuff!"

The charter school sits in a rough area of the city and was started nearly 20 years ago by Doctor Howard Fuller a staunch school choice advocate.

"Parent choice has never been the issue in this country. The issue has been who has it."

Knowing the education options have always been limited in areas like this one and the academic outcomes are usually bleak for students of color, Dr. Fuller started his own school with tremendous results year after year.

Judith Parker / Principal

“100 precent college acceptance by graduating seniors. Seven-million dollars in offered scholarships”

Nasondra Johnson /HFCA Class of 2022

"32 college acceptances over 600 thousand in scholarship money."

 

Rhonda Hill/ Nasondra's Mother

" I was in tears and just had  a chilling feeling go through my body when I seen all of the students."

 

" After receiving 19 college acceptances ... over 500 thousand in scholarships."

Ashton Gonzales / HFCA Class of 2022

"It's a real good feeling to announce your accomplishment and what you are doing. "

"I will be attending UW Milwaukee."

Amari Hinton /Class of 2022

"How did it feel to stand up there and tell everyone where you’re going ? I was a little nearvous at first, but when i got up there it felt good, because I am the first kid in my family to ever go to college. It was great, I tried not to tear up because I am emotional. I’ve been through a lot, I didn’t have a dad in my life my mom was the only person who was always there for me so."

Fighting through life’s challenges and a pandemic, to be able to stand here today makes this year’s Academic Signing Day celebration extra special.

"There’s all kinds of stuff going on in this country, and so for me to see a group of young people cut through all of that, fight through all of that get to this point in their life, it's huge."

Sondra

"Everybody did their thing proud of everybody class of 2022 we out!"

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Every year the high energy academic signing day event is held and Dr. Fuller makes sure all under-classmen are in the audience as well so they can start envisioning the sam successful outcome in their own lives one day.

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Milwaukee, WI @ 00:00

Academic Signing Day / Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy @ 00:05

Dr. Howard Fuller / School Founder @00:58

Judith Parker / Principal @ 1:43

Nasondra Johnson / HFCA Class of 2022 @ 01:50

Rhonda Hill  / Nasondra's Mother @ 1:54

Ashton Gonzales / HFCA Class of 2022  @ 2:10

Amari Hinton / HFCA Class of 2022 @ 2:28

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Yu Ying/Chinese Immersion

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Their children’s education is a top priority for most parents, but not all would go as far as the Founding Members of a public charter school established in our Nation’s Capital. Kim Martinez reports on what makes this school so outstanding.

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Chinese immersion in grade school! It’s one of many impressive offerings that sets Yu Ying Public Charter School in Washington D.C. apart from other schools.

Amy Quinn/ Yu Ying Dir. of Teaching and Learning

“They learn everything through both Chinese and English, because it is an immersion program.”

 

Veronica Jimenez / Parent 

“For our family it is very important languages, this is part of our family culture.  But we consider ourselves absolutely lucky that it’s happening with Chinese.”

Veronica Jimenez (him-men-es) has two children who attend Yu Ying and they’re learning Mandarin, one of most used languages in the world. (:06)

Founded by a group of parents in 2008, Yu Ying has grown from a couple of grades to serving kids Pre-k through 5th grade with nearly 600 students. The school’s International Baccalaureate program is designed to teach students critical thinking.

“When they encounter any situation any problem any new knowledge they take the knowledge and they analyze it, 3:35 its very different to the way I was educated.”

Yu Ying is very different academically and also offers a unique setting.

“When we were looking for a permanent space we realized we really wanted to utilize the environment to again build our students understanding through application of learning. “

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“The “Founders Forest” is a one acre outdoor classroom is a very unique aspect for any inner-city DC school, but the 8 founding parents really wanted their students to have their own nature center.”

“We are a city school but within a forest and that is fantastic.”

Another aspect of the school, an intense feeling of community.

“We really cultivate a community, we include parents in that community idea, 6:08 we bring parents in to talk to them about everything that we are doing.”

Inclusion any parent would likely welcome, and part of what makes this innovative school, which is opening the world to its students, such a popular place to learn. Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Amy Quinn/ Yu Ying Dir. of Teaching and Learning @ 00:12

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Unique School for Students with Special Needs

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A small, family run school is offering students in Savannah an opportunity they might never have had if not for the foresight of its founder. Understanding some students would never thrive in a traditional large school environment, she opened a school of her own, and for today’s current students, it’s been a game changer. Kim Martinez reports.

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A small, family run school is offering students in Savannah an opportunity they might never have had if not for the foresight of its founder. Understanding some students would never thrive in a traditional large school environment, she opened a school of her own, and for today’s current students, it’s been a game changer. Kim Martinez reports.

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Heaven Taylor / Student

“I didn’t too much like school because you barely could learn”

“All the classes are bigger and noisier.”

Legacy Academy/Savannah, GA

” Heaven Taylor has come a long way since those days at her old school.

Now a student at Savannah Legacy Academy in Georgia, she’s thriving.

Denise Brown / Legacy Academy/Dean of Academics

“A lot of our students they are special needs students.”

Dean of Academics, Denise Brown explains this small but mighty school has taken on educating students who need a little bit more than what is offered in traditional schools, and less of a distracting environment.

“Some students are on the lower end so they need time to complete assignments. Or they need to be in a smaller quiet environment to complete assignments.”

While other students are much more advanced when it comes to their special needs program, so they may not that much more time, but maybe there’s a particular subject that they are not that familiar with that we can give them additional help to.”

Michael Lawton / Student

“They helped me with one on one, and reading because when I came here I really didn’t know how to read.”

John Montesinos, (mon-ta-see-nose) a math teacher at Legacy, says in addition one-on-one hel, it’s the class sizes make all the difference.

John Montesinos / Teacher

“The number one thing is the size. This is a very intimate setting, I think my biggest class is nine students, so in the public schools where you’ve got 30 kids a lot of them fall through the cracks, it’s hard to fall through the cracks when you are one of 8 or 9 or 10 students.”

Legacy is a family run and operated school which has evolved over the years. The inspiration for the school came from Margaret Brown, a traditional school teacher, who thought there had to be more to offer her students.

Margaret Brown/Legacy Academy Founder

“I was noticing a lot of students were coming in, they was struggling, and I said to my husband, Dr. Brown, why don’t I just start me a small school, he said well okay, lets try it. And I did.”

To this day the school has held tight to the Brown’s belief that all children deserve the opportunity to learn. For parents and students alike it’s been incredible.

Jasmine Smith / Mother

“As a parent I felt like Savannah Legacy just hits all my core values, so. It was a go figure .”

Mikai Jones

“This school I feel welcome and comfortable.”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Heaven Taylor / 8th Grader @ 00:01

Legacy Academy/Savannah, GA @ 00:08

Denise Brown / Legacy Academy/ Dean of Academics @ 00:16

Michael Lawton / 5th Grader @ 00:56

John Montesinos / Teacher @ 1:11

Margaret Brown / Legacy Founder @ 1:37

Jasmine Smith / Mother @ 2:01

Makai Jones / Student @ 2:10

After School Program Thrives Amid COVID

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For many schools, the closures of their campuses put an incredible strain on working-class families. That’s why one Miami neighborhood school, serving mostly Hispanic kids, knew they needed to keep the campus open both during and after school to meet the needs of their working families. We visit their outstanding after school program to see how they’re safely succeeding in the best interest of their students. Kim Martinez reports.

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Kingdom Academy, Miami, FL

“Jackson Pollock”

Alejandro Sanchez / Parent
“We love it, it’s really good you know they have a lot of activities that they participate, it’s something that a lot of kids don’t do you know at home.”

Whether it’s getting super creative in an art history lesson, practicing soccer skills, or expressing themselves through dance, there’s no doubt, even throughout COVID restrictions, Kingdom Academy in Miami is going above and beyond for their families even resuming their well-known robust after-school program.

Natalia Rubiano / Parent
“Students right now, they’re going through so much especially with the pandemic so for us it was just a blessing alone that they were not only able to come to school but that they were able to stay a little longer just so that they could be kids.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting
"This outstanding after school program is filled with creative activities and high energy instruction from professionals, what may be the most amazing part, it’s totally free to the students."

Elena Navarro / Principal of Kingdom Academy
“We have about 80 percent of our students who are on scholarship, and because we offer this program, our families are allowed to go to work and know that their children are safe and learning and that they are experiencing different activities and interest areas tht they may not experience elsewhere.”

Of course, the school has had to make big adjustments to keep the kids safe.

“We do have a big majority of parents that needed that on campus, so we reduced our group sizes made sure we followed CDC guidelines, made sure everything is clean sanitized and safe.”

“We’ve been able to provide a full program, we continue to offer project-based learning, the small groups, homework support, the extracurricular activities.”

Members of the community are helping pay for all you see here from the school supplies, to the professional instructors, to the skilled teachers.

Iliana Perez / Kingdom Co-Founder & President of School Board
“We pursue partnerships in the community. And we’ve been partners with the Children’s Trust now for about 15 years. We’re allowed to pay certain items like materials.We’re able to hire very qualified teachers. The result, children who are engaged, energetic, and excited to stay after school as long as they can!"

Kim Martinez,Reporting

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Natalia Rubiano / Parent @00:34
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Iliana Perez / Kingdom Co-Founder & President of School Board @01:53

Students Start Early On Path to College

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For students who will be the first in their families to attend college, knowing what it takes to get there is often a mystery. But thanks to a program called Junior Rise, middle schoolers are being exposed to everything from the application process to resume writing and the importance of community service. Kim Martinez Reports.

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Hiromi Johnson-Cordray / 8th Grader
“I came to get the service hours, but I stayed because of the motives behind it.”

Jacob Partida / 8th Grader
“I like helping people in need it gives me a sense of good feeling.”

These two 8th graders are feeling great after spending the afternoon packing food bags. Hiromi Johnson-Cordray (Her-oh-me Johnson-Core-drey) and Jacob Partida (par-tea-da) are just two members of College Bound’s Junior Rise Scholars program.

Today, they clearly received valuable lessons in community service and working together.

Elizabeth Paulus / College Bound Director
“They learn about team work, they learn about project management skills, they got an assigned task and they worked together to the final end point and they can see how their project comes together."

College Bound Director Elizabeth Paulus believes it’s never too early to start thinking about how to get into college, the Junior Rise kids realize they’ll have to work harder to get there.

“The majority of peoples families aren’t very wealthy, including my own…it is very hard to get into those universities and colleges, so that’s extra important to try hard to do as many activities as you can and get those extra-curricular activities onto your resume."

Since most of the kids will be the first of their family to go to college being in Junior Rise provides vital information.

“So that’s first generation college students means that your parents didn’t finish four years of college. So, If you don’t have an informed adult in your family about what it takes to prepare for college, when to get your applications in, how to apply for financial aid, those are the steps that you need, and so this is a program that coaches the students the families on the steps to go to college.”

Jacob Partida / 8th Grader
“The sooner I think about something the more prepared I am for it in the future.”

And he’ll thankfully have years of that valuable preparation by his senior year in high school, all thanks to the College Bound experts and their Junior Rise Scholars program.

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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Since its inception more than a decade ago, Junior Rise Scholars has helped nearly 500 students with their dreams of going to college. Almost all have been first generation college students.

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Elizabeth Paulus / College Bound Director @00:35

Tutoring By Great Hearts National Honor Society in Response to Pandemic

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Tutoring is proving to be key in helping millions of U.S. students left behind by distance learning. Even some of the nation’s top schools admit that some of their students are not at grade level after COVID school closures. So how are schools going to meet the tutoring demand? One school has found a solution within their own student body. They’re taking their best student leaders and matching them with kids who have fallen behind. Kim Martinez reports.

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“I think you already started that here where you have the negative one…so how do you go from here?”

Students helping students, that’s the idea behind a unique tutoring program at Great Hearts Irving a charter school with a rigorous curriculum in Texas. Responding to the Pandemic, the school jumped into action by recruiting the leaders from their high school to help younger students.

Celeste Wheelock / ESL Coordinator
“We started with the National Honor Society trying to get the high school students to be leaders in our community give back.”

The tutoring takes place in person and online…. Evalyn (ev-ah-lyn) Russel, a sixth grader who came back onto campus as soon as it re-opened, says it’s made a huge difference for her.

Evalyn Russell / 6th Grade
“I do math tutoring and I’m not good at math at all and its definitely helped with trying to grasp onto things definitely a lot of things have been hard.”

Falling behind due to distance learning is just one of the problems students all across the country have been grappling with, just as common, feeling nervous to ask questions on zoom or even in an in-person class setting.

“Asking him is a lot easier than asking a teacher in front of a whole, probably 24 other kids.”

Great Hearts 10th grader and tutor, Adam Fazal (fah-zahl), says the model of older to younger peer tutoring is also very effective.

Adam Fazal / NHS Student
“I think it’s like a friendship, like a relationship it’s not just tutor to student anymore, it’s like us both going through the problems together. It’s also taught the tutors a great deal about mentoring and leadership. At first it was challenging you know to understand what they needed help with.”

“You have six sides.”

“You know not trying to just give them the answer but helping them understand you know, why.”

The Great Hearts tutoring program has proven to be an extremely valuable asset to both catch kids up and give them some social interaction, even so it hasn’t been easy.

“With Covid going …coming back then having to go back online than coming back into school we as a school try to maintain the rigor but there were those gaps.”

Gaps that are being addressed thanks to the tutoring program. A credit to an administration with vision, high school student leaders willing to give their time and knowledge, and students eager to take advantage of this opportunity.

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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Celeste Wheelock / ESL Coordinator @00:23
Evalyn Russell / 6th Grade @00:41
Adam Fazal / NHS Student @1:21

Community Rescues Storm Ravaged School

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Imagine layering a natural disaster on top of an already devastating pandemic, that’s exactly what one school dealt with after enduring incredible damage caused by an arctic freeze. But that’s not the end of the story, an equally incredible community responded and saved the day! Kim Martinez reports.

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Chris Carter / Principal Life School, Cedar Hill
“We talked about it and it was like what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

Life School Cedar Hill Principal, Chris Carter, is talking about the one two punch his school has just experienced. First there was Covid, and then this…

“Everybody refers to it as snow-mageddon.”

"The school was flooded after their pipes burst during that Historic Dallas storm and artic blast that knocked out power to millions last February… “It started with the upstairs flooded comes down to the bottom stairs and so we essentially had to completely renovate the school.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“Ms. Nilons classroom was the most severely damaged by the flooding but today from the roof to the books, it’s all been replaced.”

“A 200 dollar amazon gift card, to give to each of you, I’m the husband of a teacher so I know what goes into what you buy and what the school buys.”

Thanks to generous donations to help teachers replace their school supplies…

And thanks to an amazing turnout from the community as a whole, including parents and other volunteers willing to help rebuild, the school quickly got back in order, but the next issue was replacing thousands of damaged books.

“We probably have over 100 thousand dollars-worth of books that were completely destroyed.”

Once again, the community stepped in to help. A student from a different school made it her mission to bring books to children through her group called, Kate’s Books.

Kate Nordyke / Kate’s Books
“We decided that we should help them out and give them some of the stuff back that they lost back and help them rebuild their library and do what we can to help them.”

Replaced and restored, a school that has enriched the community, now saved by the community they serve.

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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Chris Carter / Principal Life School, Cedar Hill @00:24
Kim Martinez / Reporting @00:31
Kate Nordyke / Kate’s Books @01:27

Chromebooks Classroom Heroes - Democracy Prep

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Summer School will soon wind down at a small public-charter school in Baton Rouge, but the fact that the school managed to pull off a summer schedule at all is nothing short of a miracle given the COVID-19 crisis and the lack of technology resources among their students. Despite it all, the school made keeping kids learning a priority, overcoming some pretty big odds. Kim Martinez reports.

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Fattema Carter/ Mother
“They are basically saying, yes, even though you all are at home right now, class is still in session.”

Fattema (Fat-team-uh) Carter has two sons at Democracy Prep in Baton Rouge, and she’s been nothing short of amazed by the swift response to the school’s closure forced by the pandemic.

At the top of the list, the distribution of more than 500 Chromebooks to every student at the school.

“At least with the computers they’re able to log in every day.”

Shana Tidwell / Democracy Prep
“The Friday that we let out the team sent home Chromebooks with all 3-8 scholars, 4:42 with the plan that the following week we would start distance learning.”

Chrome Book Distribution / Baton Rouge, LA
But that was just the beginning at a school where 100 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch the schools buses were used to deliver meals, they also made distance learning possible for many families by dropping off cell phones to provide hotspots.

“The second big initiative was the internet access and getting all of our scholars the tools needed to actually have distance learning because in North Baton Rouge it wasn’t just a given.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“How heartwarming does it feel to be able to play such a big role for your surrounding community, when there’s a lot of stress going on right now?”

Maurice Vance / Democracy Prep
“I have a lot of friends in education that weren’t even aware of things that we were doing that they could have been doing.”

“We have a lot of teachers calling us now for advice”

Parents such as Vanessa Rivet are grateful for all the extra support, with six kids now homeschooling, she was worried about being able to keep on top of the situation.

Vanessa Rivet / Mother

“I was very fearful because I thought, I’m a hands on parent, everybody at Democracy Prep knows if they don’t know my name they’re familiar with my face and I I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to do that anymore.”

“I’m able to listen, chime in, if they’re not doing something, haven’t completed assignments I know immediately!”

Democracy Prep may be just a small school, but it’s big COVID-19 response has been both mighty and inspiring. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Fattema Carter/ Mother @ 00:01

Shana Tidwell / Democracy Prep @ 00:36

Kim Martinez / Reporting @1:16

Maurice Vance / Democracy Prep @ 1:21

Vanessa Rivet / Mother @ 1:43

Reading Partners Tutors Thousands Through Pandemic

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The pandemic has made a long-time national problem even worse, we’re talking about educational inequity. Students in already under-resourced communities didn’t have in-person access to their schools for over a year. An organization that has helped kids get to grade level in reading for over 20 years, now has their biggest challenge yet due to the massive education gap from COVID. Kim Martinez reports.

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“I think reading partners is about like to learn how to read and just like help kids.”

That’s exactly what reading partners has always been about… but when Covid hit, there had to be a dramatic shift as to how they would successfully help kids learn to read.

Elizabeth Engel / Tutor Reading Partners – Board Member
“I should say this was always part of National Reading Partners roadmap, it’s just the pandemic was like… and we are doing it now! We now do online tutoring.”

Tutor and Board Member for Reading Partners, Elizabeth Engel (angle) is talking about how the program dedicated to raising the reading levels for children in libraries and classrooms in underserved communities across the country went virtual practically overnight, it’s called Reading Partners Connects.

“It feels like you are at school, but you are really at home."

Andrea / Principal
“The kids are still meet with their tutors one on one, they’re still going to be able to see their tutor face to face, they’re still going to be able to ask them about their lives, they’re still going to be able to build that love for reading and learning together.”

Since the pandemic, Reading Partners has delivered more than 65-thousand online tutoring sessions to over four thousand two-hundred and 35 students thanks to tutors in regions all across the country.

Executive Director of the D.C. Reading Partners, says it’s a marathon not a sprint to help turn around the significant loss in reading skills among the Title-One students her organization serves.

Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan / Executive Director, D.C. Reading Partners
“What we are talking about in terms of getting people on track this isn’t a 1 to 2 years solution even, I’m talking about very intense investment needs to happen over the next 3 to 5 years.”

Reading partners hopes to expand their reach , and they see using what they’ve learned about virtual, as a way to attract more students and tutors.

“This is the best opportunity I think education has had, certainly in my entire career but you know in decades to really approach to problem solving with a lens toward ethnic. How can we create solutions that not only catches everyone up but takes into account those youngsters who were already behind and put resources in that direction.”

Kim Martinez, Reporting

Suggested Tag
To find out if there is a Reading Partners in your region go to www.readingpartners.org.

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Elizabeth Engel / Tutor Reading Partners – Board Member @00:17
Andrea / Principal @00:51
Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan / Executive Director, D.C. Reading Partners @1:30

Classroom Hero - Dr. Franklin Ferguson

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An extraordinary leader for an extraordinary school. This week, we meet a Classroom Hero who’s taken the helm of a system of schools serving students who need a different setting and more help getting to graduation than what the traditional school offers. As you’ll see, creating an atmosphere of trust and never giving up is the secret to the hearts and minds of his high-risk students. Kim Martinez reports.

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My Life My Power Preparatory Academy/ Miami, FL

"Waiting to get help? To talk. YES!”

Starting the day with a Motivational thought, then carrying similar life coaching moments throughout the entire day, It’s what sets the My Life My Power Schools schools, under the direction of Dr. Franklin Ferguson apart.

My Life My Power Schools embraces and welcome students from rough parts of Miami or who have lost ground in their academics or face other difficulties and have felt overlooked for years. At this school the students realize they matter.

A’jah Hayden – 12th grade
“They love us like we are their own kids.”

A’jah Hayden loves attending a My Life My Power School, where everything is designed to give disadvantaged students a shot at success.

With small class sizes, individual attention and the ability to understand student’s backgrounds, Dr. Ferguson makes sure they take a wholistic approach including even helping the students families if need be.

Dr. Franklin Ferguson / Regional Director MLMP
“We try to make sure we provide all of that, so that child can have a good environment at home as well as school and they can thrive that way”

Dr. Ferguson, who himself spent his high school years in a difficult part of Miami, understands what these students might need.

A lawyer by training, he began volunteering at My Life My Power after he retired, he was so impressed with what the schools were doing for kids, he accepted the job full-time running the schools. His most valuable asset, he believes in his students.

“I had a kid last year, that was living the gang life, smart, smart one man, just bad circumstances he also had to learn how to make the right choices, I like to think I helped him a little bit.”

Against all odds, that student managed to go on to college, all because Dr. Ferguson and his team took the time to provide a good place for him to achieve and communicate, A’jah agrees that having Dr. Ferguson and his team, so committed to her success has made all the difference.

A’jah Hayden – 12th grade
“They take their time and they actually help us.”

“They start to build confidence, they start to turn into people that will give back, they thrive, it’s easier for them to communicate.”

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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To find out more about the My Life My Power Schools, you can go to www.mlmpipa.org.

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My Life My Power Preparatory Academy/ Miami, FL @00:01
A’jah Hayden – 12th grade @00:31
Dr. Franklin Ferguson / Regional Director MLMP @00:53

Photomath - App Helps Students with Math

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With alarming numbers about math scores falling in the U.S. during Covid, it’s not a surprise that parents are looking for resources to help their children. One app that’s booming is called Photomath. A quick picture with your cell phone is saving parents across the world, the agony of trying to figure out their kid’s math assignments. Kim Martinez reports.

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Damir Sobal / Creator Photomath
“One evening I was helping my son with his homework actually checking his homework , it was full worksheet of problems that I had to calculate to check 1:45 and as an engineer I thought maybe there is some other way to do it!”

A clear case of necessity being the mother of invention. Engineer Damir Sobal, (Duh-Mir So-bowl) knew he had the tools he needed to invent a better way when it comes to parents struggling to help their kids learn math at home during COVID.

His big idea is called Photomath…..using an app on your cell phone, the student or parent can take pictures of the math problem, and the answers come right up! But Damir didn’t want to stop at merely providing the correct answers..

“We then actually explain these math problems ? to kids step by step how they can be solved?"

It turned out they could. And since the pandemic, Photomath has been used to solve two-billion math problems, needless to say, usage has soared!

Among those users is Denver mom – and blogger, Jamie Lee.

Jamie Lee / Mother & Blogger
“I shared it as a resource for people who were going to be doing remote learning or homeschooling with their kids and the reception of it was phenomenal."

There is a free version of Photomath that gives you the answer.

Then there’s the paid app, with animated tutorials showing the steps it takes to solve the math problem.

“Math is not my strong suit so this has been really helpful for me for me to go over what I’ve forgotten since I was in fifth grade.”

The app is used world-wide. With many students on their own during Covid, and parents trying to help… the app is booming.

“During lockdown, we saw surge in Covid, with 100 percent increase in usage we saw three times more downloads by parents, it’s not that we have every problem in our data base we are generating solutions using our software powered by Ai.”

Artificial intelligence comes to the rescue through an engineer who took a stressful problem, added a brilliant idea, and subtracted loads of stress for parents and students everywhere!

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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To find out more about Photomath you can check it out by going to your app store there is both a free and montlhy fee version.

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Damir Sobol / Creator Photomath @00:05
Jamie Lee / Mother & Blogger @1:00

A Year Later: School Manages to Stay Open Through COVID

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It wasn’t easy to respond differently than nearly every other school as mass school closures swept the nation a year ago, but one school bucked the “new normal” by staying open for in-person instruction throughout COVID. See how and why they did it and where they are today as a result. Kim Martinez reports.

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The Biltmore School / Miami, FL
While Around the country the majority of schools have been closed to on campus instruction for a year at The Biltmore School in Miami, where 93 percent of the students are Hispanic and many speak English as a second language, you could definitely say they took the path less traveled.

Gina C. Duarte-Romero / Principal The Biltmore School
“We closed exactly like everybody else in mid-march of last year, exactly a year ago.”

“The Biltmore School is such a creative collaborative space it was especially hard for the children to not be here for in person instruction, so the school worked very quickly to get the kids back in class within months of Covid first hitting.”

Principal Gina Romero knew that shutting down for an extended period of time wasn’t in the best interest of her students academically or socially. So she made the tough decision to give families the option to have in-person instruction and a somewhat normal summer school session which started just 2 months after the nation shut down schools.

“It was a very, very soft opening so it was you know, I think we had a total of 50 students enrolled, which typically our summers usually 150, 160 students, but it was really nice because we were able to work out all the kinks.”

Since then they’ve been going strong. Now all but a handful of students are back in class, and those unable to return are taught virtually.

“You guys know that some of your friends are home, and they are going to stay home till after spring break.”

Through it all they’ve had a successful last year of school thanks to some strict protocols. In addition to desk dividers and continuous cleaning, they’ve had to limit parent involvement on campus, where as pre-covid the families were always welcome.

“It really goes against our principals to not to (have to) separate the parents not allow them into the classrooms.”

None of it has been easy, including having teachers do more than ever as vice principal and teacher Ana Seonae (ann-uh Say juan-eeee) has seen first hand.

Ana Seoane (ann-uh say juan-eeee) /Assistant Principal/ Teacher
“In the classroom because of the Covid we’ve eliminated kids coming in and out of the classroom, and teachers coming in and out of the classroom, 3:20 so you are the teacher the custodian, the cafeteria lady the librarian the art teacher.”

But in spite of it all, this school made it happen.

You might just say, The Biltmore is the little school that could and did. Kim Martinez reporting.

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The Biltmore School is a private school that’s been in operation for 90 years. For more information, you can go to www.biltmoreschool.com.

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The Biltmore School / Miami, FL
Gina C. Duarte-Romero / Principal The Biltmore School
Ana Seoane (ann-uh say juan-eeee) /Assistant Principal/ Teacher

Classroom Hero / NC Charter Teacher of the Year

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She’s gotten top marks when it comes to her passion for her profession. This Classroom Hero serves her students and her community with pride. Loving and inspiring her students, it’s no wonder she’s been chosen as a “Teacher of the Year” in her home state.

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“And so, what we’re going to do today is put all that together”

Dakari Bryant / Principal

“She knows and has high marks in every area that we evaluate from relationships to knowing to teaching and that’s not what everyone will encompass.”

Ashley Bailey / North Carolina Charter School Teacher of the Year

“They all have unique challenges and make them fun to work with and make me think and analyze how I do my job because sometimes you can’t do the same thing every day, but that’s exciting. And I love getting to be a part of their lives.”

Avery Coleman / Roxboro Community School Junior

“Mrs. Bailey is literally one of my most favorite people in the world, she’s been a huge motivation for me. I’ve always loved science and because of Mrs. Bailey that love has only grown.”

“I get really excited about things and can’t wait to dive into what we’re studying, and Avery is very much the same way.”

Franklin Bell / Roxboro Community School Junior

“She’ll be teaching, and someone will ask her a question and it’s like she’s very excited to answer that question. It seems like she really loves what she’s doing.”

“I was certainly surprised to be selected. Our regional team is going to be able to travel the state and work together, and I hope to take all that and bring it back here.”

“She would do anything for anybody, she’s just a very genuine, enthusiastic and inspiring person and I aspire to be a lot like her someday. Brian Jodice, Reporting.

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Dakari Bryant / Principal @ 00:04

Ashley Bailey / North Carolina Charter School Teacher of the Year @ 00:19

Avery Coleman / Roxboro Community School Junior @ 00:41

Franklin Bell / Roxboro Community School Junior @ 1:02

Tutoring Centers Help Struggling Virtual Students

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There’s no doubt for many distance learning has been difficult, but now testing shows what the cost has been. Testing of students shows that there’s been a drop off in both reading and math skills, and that’s left parents scrambling to get their children in tutoring centers which are moving to the forefront the education community. Kim Martinez reports.

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Neena Bahakta / Center Director KUMON
“Parents were coming in just kind of scared panicked. My kids were falling behind we didn’t even realize help us!”

Neena Bhakta (Nina Boc-Tah) is in a unique position to see in real time what’s going on with the Nation’s students after being forced into distance learning by COVID for the last year. She’s an owner and director of a KUMON center, where both math and reading skills are taught.

“It’s just been really heartbreaking to see where students are and where they should be primarily because of being virtual and I just think everybody was a little lost.”

At the end of last year, national testing by the the NWEA, (Northwest Evaluation Association), of students grades 3 though 8 showed students scored an average of 5 to 10 percentile points lower in math. With grades 3, 4 and 5 experiencing the largest drops.

Third grader Sophie Groark (grow-ork) is one of the students who fell behind during distance learning due to the pandemic.

“I just felt really angry, sad, frustrated.” “I wanted to know the answers so I could do better in class.”

Paulette Groark / Grandmother
“Being really fast at your addition subtraction facts and you had to know multiplication and division and I knew she wasn’t there I said this is going to be a tough year.”

And that’s why families have been turning to tutors and centers like KUMON.. once a child is behind everyday counts.

“Every single day for a half hour you do these until you get good at it and then you go onto the next level and the next level.” KUMON is based on the concept of self-learning. Developed in Japan for a teacher’s son, the system is so impressive it’s used world-wide."

Students are assessed at the beginning of their enrollment and throughout the program as they mastered each level.

“It’s a linear program, everything is built in small steps, practiced, mastered and then we add on to it add onto it, and so for every level we do an assessment.”

Many of the nation’s students are facing a hard road back to just achieving grade level which is why extra tutoring and after-school centers such as KUMON will most likely end up being major players in solving the COVID education crisis moving forward.

“Something supplemental is going to be needed to bridge the gap, there’s only so many things you can do in 8 hours of a school day.”

For students who get the help they need, such as Sophie, the difference will be dramatic.

“I feel happy, excited glad that I can now do the math so it’s easier in class."

Kim Martinez, Reporting

Suggested Anchor Tag
For more information about KUMON and possible scholarships for tutoring, check with the KUMON center in your area.

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Neena Bahakta / Center Director KUMON @00:01
Sophie Groark / 3rd Grader @00:57
Paulette Groark / Grandmother @1:04

It Takes A Village - Center for Urban Teaching

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What does it truly take to teach our nation’s children? If you ask a unique school for educators in Milwaukee the answer is, “It Takes a Village.” The group works to help teachers and school leaders be the best at their profession and part of an excelling education community. Kim Martinez reports.

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These inspired teachers are all part of “the village” created by the “Center For Urban Teaching”. The song is certainly symbolic of the coming together you see at the center.

Krysta DeBoer/ Director Center For Urban Teaching
“At Center For Urban Teaching we really believe in that, it does take a village. As the African saying goes, if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”

This unique non-profit center in Milwaukee is a place where future teachers and school administrators, as well as those already in the profession come to develop and improve their skills.

“We get an opportunity to observe highly effective teachers and leaders in action and demystify the magic of what’s happening in those classrooms.”

It’s a two pronged approach, first there’s the opportunity to observe teachers and school leaders in action, visiting classrooms and offices and seeing why they’re successful. Then they get “exposure” working in an actual-class room or running a school.

“Local schools give us two things, the keys and the kids and allow us to come in with the teachers and leaders in training, to assume the full responsibility of what it really means to be a teacher or to be a leader.”

Teacher Emerald Collier is among those who have benefited.

Emerald Collier / Teacher
“I honestly had no idea what I was doing, scholars were all over the place, and I didn’t really feel confident in my instruction, but after participating with the center for urban teaching, and after having so many years of coaching and opportunities such as summer school, I’ve been not only able to grow in my abilities as an educator, but I also feel more confident and more ready and also more prepared to develop tomorrow’s leaders and decision leaders.”

The center’s ability to generate both confidence and community is what makes it such a welcome and innovative part of the academic world, you could say it’s “the Village” in action.

Quanesha Medina / Teacher
“It takes a lot of people in our community to help our scholars to grow.”

“So for example it takes the parents, to help with the scholars, it takes our leaders our teachers, it takes more than just one person, so a village means everybody has to come together.”

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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Krysta DeBoer/ Director Center for Urban Teaching @00:22
Emerald Collier / Teacher @01:26
Quanesha Medina / Teacher @2:04

Emotional Toll of Distance Learning on Kids

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Nearly a year later, the decision to close schools due to COVID is taking a big toll on the mental health of children who’ve been relegated to distance learning. A deep feeling of isolation is triggering alarming rates of anxiety in children of all ages. Kim Martinez reports.

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Breanna Smith/ Sophomore
“I can tell that some people are more anxious and having a lot of struggles dealing with their emotional health and everything.”

Breanna Smith is a sophomore in High School. While it’s not quite as stressful as in the beginning when she first started distance learning last March, Breanna can’t wait to get back into the classroom.

“In person, one, you get a lot stronger bond with your teachers and you feel more emotionally connected, and you also get to see a lot more students and interact as a group.”

Breanna represents the exact demographic of students that are struggling the most with mental health and isolation caused by distance learning.

Jill McMahon / Licensed Professional Counselor and Grief Specialist
“Exacerbated rate of anxiety in our youth, specifically high school-aged children, even more so teenaged girls.”

Jill McMahon is a licensed professional counselor and grief specialist.

“Students are experiencing a lot of fears right now.”

“For some students, home is not a safe place, school is where they go to feel normal, to feel connected, so there is that anxiety. There is fear of bringing the virus home to one of their family members.”
“There is also the fear of being disconnected. If I don’t go to school, right, is my social group going to accept me next year.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between April and October of 2020, the number of mental health-related emergency department visits increased for children and teens.
Kids ages 5 through 11 increased by 24 percent and 31 percent among those 12 to 17 compared to the same time period in 2019.

“Socializing is like breathing for young adults and we’ve been asking them to hold their breath for a long time now. So they need human interaction and they need touch and I implore every family in whatever way that you can safely, first and foremost, allow your child to socialize.”

“They need the reassurance that their life is going to come back together soon and they need to believe they’re not losing their friends or their social life or their groups, their sports activities.”
As for Breanna, going back to school in person, can’t come soon enough.

“It will be like a bunch of stress has been taken off my shoulders and it will be like kind of going back to normal.”

Kim Martinez, Reporting

Suggested Anchor Tag
Jill says reaching out to a trusted adult or calling a hotline such as the Crisis Text Line is key for a young person struggling with their mental health. For more information visit www.crisistextline.org.

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Breanna Smith / Sophomore at Desert Mountain High School @00:04
Jill McMahon / Licensed Professional Counselor and Grief Specialist @00:37

Virtual Math Olympiad

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Coding is the language of computers which more and more students are learning to speak. Knowing it would bring excitement to their annual Math Olympiad, which has gone virtual because of the pandemic in Louisiana, coding is now an exciting part of the competition. Monica Pierre reports.

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Kenilworth Science and Technology School/Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Eighth grader Brandon Fortenberry likes what he can create with coding.

Brandon Fortenberry/8th Grader
“If I wanted to make a website, I can, I could do that. Like I can code good stuff together, online so other people can enjoy it.”

Simply put, coding is a language that gives the computer commands.

Lauren Allen/Director of Community Affairs
“Computer coding is just a language. So, just like any other language, you have to learn the language so you that you can apply it to these programs.”

“It’s needed in all fields, and education, in the medical field in politics. And so, this language is something that students need to gain just like they do with ELA and math skills.”

Monica Pierre/ Reporting
“Tell me what you like about doing it. Is the creative part, or the math part, or some other technical part?”

“Kind of both. I like the creative part, like me—what’s in my mind, like I’m putting that for other people to see.”

“You have math with it, you are always learning something new towards coding.”

Brandon plans to develop his passion for coding into a career as an animator.

Coding is being adding to Kenilworth’s annual math Olympiad—a competition that’s opened to all Louisiana 5th graders. Because of COVID, the March competition is going virtual.

”And they’ll make sure their technology is working, they understand how the test will work and then we’ll break them up into little testing rooms and they’ll be able to take this, this math test and coding test, um, and apply those skills that they’ve been practicing for the past few months.”

All designed to spark interest in coding at a young age.

Monica Pierre, Reporting

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Kenilworth Science and Technology School / Baton Rouge, LA @00:02
Brandon Fortenberry / 8th Grader @00:08
Lauren Allen / Director of Community Affairs @00:25
Monica Pierre / Reporting @00:47

Learning Centers Help Struggling Virtual Students

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They faced the challenges of helping high-risk students make the move to virtual learning years ago and came up with a solution that’s perfect during this time of COVID distance learning. Students remain online, but are invited to do their work and get help at learning centers if they fall behind or have questions. Plus, it’s a way to be apart of a community once again. Kim Martinez reports.

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Andre Walker/ 12th Grade
“These teachers actually want to support you, see you grow to thrive. Be something.”

The words of this high school senior speak volumes. Andre Walker is talking about Eastpointe High School’s hybrid virtual program in Arizona where he moved from his traditional high school in Detroit.

“It was like very populated, but at this school I can get my one on one time. I get help that I need.”

Eastpointe offers robust online curriculum including their Rise Up credit recovery program.

As well as dropout prevention courses, and these in-person learning labs, so students always have a brick and mortar space to get one-on-one help with their virtual education.

Uriah Grissum/ Director South Phoenix Eastpointe
“It’s a combination of online learning as well as being in class, so you kind of have the traditional feel but it is alternative learning.”

“It’s like one on one time with the computer, if I don’t understand something on the computer, they’re telling me on the computer, I can ask one of the teachers and they can come help me personally.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting

“The system Eastpointe High put in years ago to have these small in-person learning centers for their virtual students has meant that once Covid hit, these guys never skipped a beat.”

Nate Scott / Director of Programs for Eastpointe HS
“If anything it helped our student count, us helping us recruit kids.”

Nate Scott is the Director of these “learning centers or labs” in several Arizona cities, and hopes to take them nationwide someday.

“Knowing that they’re not going to be judged or looked upon as a bad kid it brings that comfort and so with the staff support of knowing what a kids background is, so the kid knows that they’re actually getting help instead of being judged.”

Jessica Maiden / 11th Grade
“The environment, it’s more comfortable. You are not scared to come to school or be around people, you are excited to actually get up and come.”

Engaging students who may not have made it to graduation otherwise by thinking outside the box, as well as consistently being there for their students even through COVID, Eastpointe High School is successfully changing lives. Kim Martinez, reporting.

Suggested Anchor Tag
If you would like to learn more about Eastpointe Learning Centers you can go to WWW. Eastpointehs.com.

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Andre Walker / 12th Grade @00:01
Uriah Grissum / Site Director South Phoenix Eastpointe @00:39
Kim Martinez / Reporting @00:56
Nate Scott / Director of Programs Eastpointe @1:05
Jessica Maiden / 11th Grade. @1:35

HBCU Recruitment Party Goes Virtual with Authors Showcase

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Each year, during Black History Month, members of Jack and Jill organizations nationwide host recruiting events for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This year, due to the pandemic, they changed up their events, instead staging Virtual Black Author Showcases at chapters nationwide. Kim Martinez reports.

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Dr. Ashley Little/Authors Showcase Participant
“I have to say Kamala Harris has really set the standard for HBCU’s .”

“You know her going to an HBCU, her being the first black women to be a vice president of the United States,
has really opened the door for HBCU’s as well.”

Dr. Ashley Little also knows a thing or two about being a role mode of success for other Black women as well as promoting Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“We are the first black owned publishing company to share prominent HBCU alumni stories.”

She’s a fitting participant of this year’s scaled down HBCU recruitment event.

In year’s past, the events were energetic, jammed packed gatherings of young people with representatives from all of the nation’s, over one hundred, HBCU’s. In year’s past they were lively events featuring everything from cheerleaders ….performing traditional step, to speakers touting their colleges and it was all in person.

But this year because of the pandemic, the events went virtual and very intellectual, through inviting successful Black authors who attended HBCU’s to engage with future college students.

Konya Lindsey/ HBCU Authors Showcase Participant
“I am a proud alumni of the nation’s oldest black university. Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio.”

Konya Lindsey a cook-book author spoke to students from first grade to 12th, about working hard and what it means to attend an HBCU.

And New Jersey Principal, Cedric Thorbes, author of a memoir, says his HBCU community had an incredibly positive impact.

Cedric Thorbes / Authors Showcase Participant
“So I started saying I’m going to be a Morehouse man, wow I became a Morehouse man right, so it was the constant re-affirmation of these affirmations that I was giving myself on an every-single day basis that really shaped my life.”

Freshman Lauryn Hardaway says although she’s having a positive experience at her high school, she is one of the few black students there, so she’s looking forward to going to an HBCU.

Lauryn Hardaway / Freshman
“I want to go to an HBCU because I want to build friendships with other people who look like me.”

Students who not only look like her but a school where teachers and an administrators are dedicated to her success.

“It also prepares you to walk out into the real world right, with your head up high with confidence, I can go into any room and be successful. I can go into any room and own the room.

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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If you’d like to learn more about Historically Black Colleges and Universities, visit the website at HBCU.com.

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Dr. Ashley Little/Authors Showcase Participant @00:09
Konya Lindsey/ HBCU Authors Showcase Participant @1:17
Cedric Thorbes / Authors Showcase Participant @1:33
Lauryn Hardaway / Freshman @2:00

Youngsville Academy -- Inspiring School

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With a teaching style called “direct instruction,” a school in North Carolina is meeting the needs of its community one student at a time. Parents looking for more for their children say they’re finding it at this unique school and for the students and staff it spells success. Brian Jodice reports.

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Daniel Henson / Founding Member
“It was clear from the beginning that the goal was a quality education option, preparing their kids for college in a joyful environment.”

Emily Henson / Director of Education

“The difference at Youngsville Academy our climate is positive we talk about that a lot. The teachers come in a greet the kids at the door. It’s about how can I reach this child today and knowing something about them and being intentional to reach them.”

Brian Jodice / Reporting
“It’s the direct instruction approach that the directors at Youngsville Academy credit to much of their early success.”

Youngsville Academy, Youngsville, NC

“We seek to meet the students where they’re at and provide all the support to help them grow and thrive in which stage they are in. Our K-5 looks different than 6-8 will look because we are meeting the students where they’re at and not trying to fit them into a specific mold.”

And it’s meeting students at their needs that makes life inside the classroom a daily success for teachers like Anitra Ollison.

Anitra Ollison / Teacher

“This place is a place of kindness and teacher to teacher respect. I really enjoy working with people that I enjoy working with. My students, I love them, they are my babies and they know that. My children. i have two teenagers, so i miss this age, so i’ll be talking them at dinner and my kids are like, “You know we’re your kids, right ?”, so because the way I talk about their triumphs and everything at my own dinner table, so I really enjoy the student body here.”

Brian Jodice, reporting.

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Youngsville Academy, Youngsville, NC @ 00:01

Daniel Henson / Founding Member @ 00:08

Emily Henson / Director of Education @ 00:18

Brian Jodice / Reporting @ 00:35

Anitra Ollison / Teacher @ 1:16

West-MEC Career & Tech - Innovative School

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A growing trend nationwide, more and more high schools are offering their students training in the trades. Anyone willing to work with their hands can help fill a massive skilled labor gap in the U.S. by becoming certified in a trade. It’s a decision that opens up a lot of options for after graduation. Kim Martinez reports.

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Dean Hellofs / Senior

“In the navy I’m going to be doing a career field called the CB’s so what the CB’s do is they’re the Navy’s construction battalion so my job specifically I’ll be working on engines and also vehicles .”
West-MEC / Buckeye, AZ

Dean Hellofs (hell-offs) is excited to use what he’s learned about mechanics and welding in the Naval Reserves. He picked up his skills at West-MEC an Arizona vocational school.

Publicly funded, West-MEC’s goal, is to give students opportunities to learn marketable skills. Jarett Gui (Guy), The principal of one of the West MEC campuses, explains.

Jarett Gui / West-MEC Campus Administrator

“Students can go anywhere from a health career pathway for example to construction to welding any of those different options where they have and interest and a passion.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“The popularity among high schoolers for this type of professional vocational high-school is evident in the numbers
“And the students get to choose from 28 different programs including energy and industrial technology.”

Paul Melessa / Energy and Industrial Technology Instructor
“Over the last few years there was a huge push from industry because their workforce is retiring and they said hey we need to get younger people into these types of careers sooner so we can meet that demand.

These schools are meeting a NATIONWIDE DEMAND for skilled labor.

Wesley Robertson / Senior

“First of all it saves money and then I learn a whole lot and I can put more on my resume. Instead of just degrees I can put years of experience I have along with certifications.”
When students such as Wesley graduate, they’re certified in a skill at no extra costs.

“We really want to take away as many barriers as we can to getting students those certifications those skills that they need.

One of the keys to this school’s success may also be in the way they present themselves. Students have to wear a professional uniform to class.

And from the campus to the classroom it’s all business.

Jasleen Gil / Junior
“My first impression when I came in here was it actually saw like as at a dental office and it actually made you feel professional.”

As the moto of the school says, this could be “A Faster Way Forward” to a promising future. Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Dean Hellofs / Senior @ . 00:06
West MEC / Buckeye, AZ @ 00:14
Jarett Gui / West-MEC Campus Administrator @00:34
Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:45
Paul Melessa / Energy and Industrial Technology Instructor @ 1:03
Wesley Robertson / Senior @ 1:23
Jasleen Gil / Junior @ 1:59

Hero Art Teacher Helps Teens with Stress

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To learn from the best is a gift to students, and this week, a Classroom Hero that’s changing lives through his many talents. A Master Artist in ceramics, he’s a hero not only on the campus where he works, but in his community as well, Kim Martinez reports.
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Kyle Wesseln / Senior
“Ceramics is definitely going to be a part of my life throughout the rest of my life.”
Kyle Wesseln (wes-lynn) has a full load of AP classes at St. Augustine’s in San Diego and plans to study engineering at Notre Dame next year, but this year he’s found another love.
“When I wake up in the mornings sometimes I’m sort of iffy about going to school, oh it’s senior year maybe I should just take this day off, but then I remember I have ceramics block one, and instantly I’m like, “Oh I gotta get out of bed!”
“Your spout could go in…”
No doubt the main reason for that devotion is this man… Master Artist, Kouta Shimazaki (kho-tah Shim mu zaki).
Kouta Shimazaki/Master Artist
“Ever since I was a kid, I was a child, I’ve always loved making things anything from mud pie, to just everything you name it I love doing things with my hands. I think this just gives them an opportunity to relax in a way, but explore at the same time the new part of the world that they are not exposed to and I think every human needs a little creativity.”
Even the pandemic didn’t stop him.
“It was not easy. I had to send them home with the material that wasn’t even easy.”
Kim Martinez /Reporting
“Having less studio time because of Covid disruptions, it’s surprising that Kouda says this class has come the furthest along in the shortest amount of time.”
“I have never had so many incredibly skilled ceramics students!”
A success he attributes to their desire to engage in something creative during the shut-down.
Saint’s President, Ed Hearn, says Kouta’s not just a hero at school, but for the community as well.
Ed Hearn / President, St. Augustine
“They had to cut a lot of the art out of the public schools and he thought that was a disaster, so he came up with this idea.”
Kouta created a Rice Bowl block party in the neighborhood where he made and sold tons of handmade bowls with all proceeds funding the art program in a nearby public school.
“Classroom Hero? Definitely! I would say he inspires so many people here at Saints to pursue their passion honestly.”
Kim Martinez Reporting.
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Kyle Wesseln (wes-lynn) / Senior @ 00:01
Shimazaki Master Artist @ 00:40
Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:09
Ed Hearn / President, St. Augustine @ 1:39

St. Thomas More -- Classroom Hero

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Ever wonder what makes people become donors? Whether the amount is big or small it’s usually a reflection of their beliefs. This week, a touching story about a man who is carrying on his father’s passion for education through his own giving to a Milwaukee High School. He’s helping put dozens of students on a life-changing path.

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“It did a lot for me, time to give back a little bit.”

St. Thomas More / Milwaukee, WI

Jim Kitzinger (kit-zinger) has turned into a “Guardian Angel” of sorts.. He can give back so he is.. to St. Thomas More High School and their program that helps students become Certified Nursing Assistants while earning their high school diploma. With no public funding to pay for the program, the school needed a little help and that’s where Kitzinger and his family stepped in.

“My parents valued education and that was a priority for them.”

Kitzinger graduated from St. Thomas More back in 1975, and has been involved ever since.
He sees the importance of a good education as the path toward employment. It’s a passion he along with his siblings all have thanks to their dad.

Jim Kitzinger / St. Thomas More Donor
‘His experience, actually as a child of the depression, he watched men not be able to work and their loss of dignity is profound so that, that has always been important to us.”

Kitzinger and his family’s generosity gives students at the Southside Milwaukee School an opportunity to get a valuable nursing certification, which otherwise they might not be able to afford.

Jon Wroblewski -Senior
“It benefits you monetarily but also it prepares you very well like it give you a leg up on the other applicants to those colleges.”

Senior Jon Wroblewski (ro-bus-key) says not only has his certification helped him win a scholarship, but he plans to use it to work and pay for his college cost. As for donor Kitzinger, who manages people’s money by trade, he sees donating as a LONG TERM INVESTMENT.

“It will pay dividends far into the future both for students individually but for society. More in general.”
Kim Martinez reporting.


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St. Thomas More / Milwaukee, WI . @ 00:01

Jim Kitzinger / St. Thomas More Donor @ 00:26

Jon Wroblewski / Senior @ 01:27

BB International--Inspirational School

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It’s like entering a whole new world for children at a unique school in Miami. Whether it’s a hands-on approach in the classroom or an opportunity to learn based on ability not age or grade, many say there’s no place like BBI to educate their pre-school through 5th graders.

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BB International / Miami, Florida

From the moment you arrive at BB International it’s lush setting sets it apart,

The unique classrooms with windowed walls adds to the impression something is different, but it’s what’s going on inside that’s really impressive at this Miami School.

Luciano Musella / Director of Curriculum BB International School

“We are focused on teaching and learning through the arts. 1:39 So our curriculum is really unique, the way the teachers interact with the children.”

As Luciano Musella, (moo-sella) Curriculum Director, explains the school offers small class sizes and a unique system called scaffolding, that brings students of different ages together based on their skill level.

Sara Glenn / Curriculum Coordinator.

“With the scaffolded learning we don’t follow that September birthday that traditional public schools follow for where you fall in the school year, so we have the flexibility and the opportunity to be able to move children from a group, from classes to different groups 5:04 when they are ready.”

“There’s our O, this is what we are teaching our fingers to do automatically without thinking.”

BBI prides itself on a curriculum steeped in child psychology from which come their creative teaching methods, like spelling out the ABC’s on desks covered with shaving cream…

“What colors did you use ? Que Colores ?”

A dual language immersion program.

And cultivating their own gardens.

Eloi Jeanjuste (E-loy Jean-Just) / 5th Grader

“We’ve grown plants, watermelon, carrots, corn and lettuce and we grew

a few peppers.”

And that’s a lesson that takes students from garden to grocery.

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“This is what is called the market where kids get real life experience and life lessons learning to shop side by side with other kids of different backgrounds ages and all learning together from each other.”

Another impressive accomplishment of this school, Parents and students say there are zero issues here with bullying.

Aviel Pettersson / 5th Grader

“We are taught to that violence is not the answer and we can always work things out with our words.

“There’s a lot of focus here there’s a heightened importance on social and emotional development. In developing them to be mature, to be independent to be confident and we see that our children are able to react better in different situations.

The entire BBI system is outstanding when it comes to teaching children to become deep-thinkers and problem solvers, academically and socially. Kim Martinez, reporting.

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BB International / Miami, Florida @ 00:01

Luciano Musella / Director of Curriculum BB International School @ 00:17

Sara Glenn / Curriculum Coordinator @ 00:36

Eloi Jeanjuste / 5th Grader @ 1:20

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:28

Aviel Pettersson 5th Grader @ 1:48

Pandemic Sparks Creativity in Young Artists

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In Texas, an annual statewide artistic competition went virtual this year. And for one school, it turns out, the restrictions of the pandemic, may just have been the inspiration they needed to make it to the top tier of the competition. Kim Martinez Reports.
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Camilla Sechel / 10th Grade
“Oh, Covid with art, that’s been probably the thing that I relied on most, especially during lockdown. I really think covid as odd as this sounds has made me a better artist.”
Rowan Hoover /11th Grade
“It did give me something to do, kind of distract me from everything that was happening I guess, and it definitely did help me get through.”
These young artists have turned the negative of feeling isolation during the pandemic into a positive, not only on a personal level, but their entries into a big statewide art competition called VASE have become a point of pride for their school Great Hearts Irving in Texas. Three of the school’s artist made it into the upper tiers of the prestigious yearly event.
Julia Chaplin / 9th Grade
“It’s kind of like the idea is growing from the book and it’s developing with more thought into something else that’s beautiful.”
Julia Chaplin, a ninth grader, says her inspiration was her love of reading… while Rowan Hoover says it was an abandoned gas station that inspired his photograph, “Forgotten but Not Lost”.
Rowan Hoover / 11th Grade
“These truckers would just come into the gas station even though there’s nothing in there and they just sit there. So I thought wow that’s really cool because it’s not a working gas station but people still use it.”
The competition encourages a student’s originality, technical expertise, and allows them to produce works that reflect their own ideas.
Camilla Sechel / 10th Grade
“I named it ,“Woodland Child”, mainly because of the aesthetic that I wanted to have, kind of like be in the forest and the woods, and the childhood aspect of running around having fun playing in the mud type of thing.”
Now Camilla sells a line of her quirky dolls on Etsy. The competition has been a catalyst for so many young artists to pursue their talents, and has now grown from just 400 entries in the first year to well over 35,000 this year.
“I think it’ great because a lot of schools focus more on stem now instead of art and I just think it’s really nice that they give us this opportunity especially this year, since we didn’t have many things to do.”
Kim Martinez, reporting.
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Camilla Sechel / 10th Grade @ 00:01
Rowan Hoover / 11th Grade@ 00:17
Julia Chaplin / 9th Grade@ 00:46

Virtual Fans Cheer on High School Athletes

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The pandemic has made this quite a long year for student athletes. From cancelled seasons, sidelined scholarship dreams, and limited attendance at games, it’s dampened the spirit in sports. But at one school, a bit of creativity has brought back some of the crowd hype for high schoolers by selling cardboard cutouts to family and friends. Kim Martinez reports.

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Jonathan Krause / Senior, Glendale Prep
“So when we had our first game without fans this year it was sad to be honest, it was just unnatural!”

Jonathan Krause, a senior at a Great Hearts Charter school called Glendale Prep, expresses what athletes have been feeling all over the country because of COVID crowd restrictions.
Athletic Director, Jerome Garrison, says it’s harder to get hyped with no energy from the stands.

Jerome Garrison / Athletic Director, Glendale Prep
“Yeah it’s strange, usually you have your student section, you know you have your parents your grandparents, your JV teams, your freshman teams your varsity teams. Everyone’s in the gym, they’re packing the gym.”

And so he decided the school needed to do something about it.

“When you are watching a lot of professional sports and college sports and you are seeing how they are keeping energy that spirit alive.” Taking a page from the pros, the school staged its own version of the cardboard cut-out audience, which turned into a big hit!

“That’ one of the coolest parts I think it kind of just replaces the sadness of not having people here that you know.”

“They make me feel like I’m back in a familiar atmosphere again.”

Madeline Wiest / Senior, Glendale Prep
They’re great, when you look out it looks like there’s a bunch of fans there, it’s hard to tell the difference between the parents and the cutouts .”

The men’s basketball coach says it’s fun for fans and a boost for players as well.

Carlon Brown / Glendale Prep, Men’s Basketball Coach
“Our fans our community get a chance to experience it and just have a little bit of fun in a bittersweet type of season.”

“You know if you are shooting a free throw, or if you are making a lay-up, you look to your left you see somebody that’s familiar, it just brings a certain smile and a nice little dopamine effect to the brain.”

The school has also found another way to raise spirt, a zoom audience… another idea “borrowed” from the pros!

“We are blessed to have a projector screen in our gym, so we pulled down the screen, sent a zoom invite had a lot of security protocols involved in there, but we invited families to tune in that couldn’t come.”
“Oh yeah my Grandma’s actually on the zoom, I saw her there, so yeah it was great.”

“I would absolutely encourage other schools to try it 3:04 I mean it’s for the kids, your job is to give them an experience, and I think all of us have to try our best this year.” Trying and succeeding like pros!

Kim Martinez, Reporting

Suggested Tag
A-D Garrison says the cutouts were also a mini fundraiser for the school, charging each participant 50 dollars, with volunteers taking photos for those who didn’t want to email in one of their own.

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Jonathan Krause / Senior, Glendale Prep @00:00
Jerome Garrison / Athletic Director, Glendale Prep @00:25
Madeline Wiest / Senior, Glendale Prep @00:55
Carlon Brown / Men’s Basketball Coach, Glendale Prep @01:07

"Empathy" Student film Inspired by Viral Video

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A viral video, that got over a million hits, inspired student film makers to tackle something happening far too often in classrooms across the country. Students coming of age are caught on video challenging the authority of their teachers in verbal and physical altercations. To combat this, a Classroom Hero has found a unique way to address the power struggle. It’s an unconventional way to teach a lesson in empathy. Monica Pierre reports.

New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School/ New Orleans, LA

These are the behind the scene shots of the making of “Empathy” a movie produced by students at New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School. The short film takes on a big problem in many schools across the country…violence in the classroom.

“That’s what you teach there? Yes, I teach film and digital media. Not just the film aspect but this stuff, film, projection.”

Ejaaz Mason brings his previous work in the movie industry to the classroom. He has turned students into filmmakers helping them bring to the screen projects that resonate with them.

Viral Video of Fight

Mason says Empathy was inspired by a real-life teacher-student conflict.

E’Jaaz Mason / Film & Digital Teacher

“There was a video that went viral in Texas of a substitute teacher having a fight with a student, especially with a student. And my students couldn’t stop talking about it. It was all over Facebook and every other social media sites. And so, we were like, this is almost, this is a perfect story to tell.”

Mason shows the film to audiences in as many places as possible including an outdoor festival.

Monica Pierre/Reporting

What audiences will see is from two perspectives. One from the life of the teacher and the other from the perspective of the student.

“Gabrielle, I need you to get up and do your work.”

The film is intense. Tackling classroom disruption, student trauma and teacher struggles.

“And when all those traumatic experiences come together, it can really blow up violently in the classroom”

“We had students who acted in the film. We had students who helped to shoot it. We had students who helped sound, we had students who help to um, you know, finalize the script.

From start to finish, students were like totally involved.

It was inspiration because now you know that you help people understand. Like don’t make things hard on other people, because you know, sometimes what people go through.”


Donald Benoit/ 9th Grade

Mason hopes Empathy will lead to conversation and understanding.

“What I’m most hopeful about is that people will see this film and just have more of an open mind and think about, you know, the story from both sides. There’s always two sides to a story.”

Monica Pierre Reporting

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The film will premiere in New Orleans later this month. After the premiere, the filmmakers will make “Empathy” available on the school’s YouTube channel.


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New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School/ New Orleans, LA @00:03

Viral Video of Fight @ 00:35

E’Jaaz Mason/ Film & Digital Teacher @ 00:45

Monica Pierre / Reporting @01:02

Donald Benoit / 9th Grade @01:38

Aviation Student Flying High

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You are never too young to go after your dreams! For students enrolled in a one-of-a-kind aviation program, they’re reaching new heights at the same time that the school itself is soaring! Kim Martinez reports.
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Joseph Valek / Senior
“Summer College is going to be also flight training, so I’m just going to get further ratings, so I’m qualified enough to become a commercial airline pilot.”
Not exactly what most kids can say they did with their summer vacation, but Joseph Valek (Val-ick) is getting an amazing opportunity.
As part of a high-flying group of students attending EVIT, a trade school, which offers an Aviation Program to HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. “It’ hard to work in aviation and not make six figures.” If that’s not enough to inspire these students,
Michael Charlton, (Charel-ton) a graduate of the aviation program, who now returns to EVIT to teach periodically, has landed a job in the Tower at Sky Harbor.
Michael Charlton / Air Traffic Control Specialist
“So the controller’s at the top of the tower, they take care of the airport itself while I work at the bottom of the tower and we control the planes once they leave the ground.”
Michael’s former instructor in the EVIT aviation program, Lou Amadee, says it’s a dream job.
Lou Amadee / Aviation Instructor East Valley Institute of Technology
“I’m jealous, I don’t know what else to say.”
“Just one more piece of information right here, so here is your magnetic deviation…:
The program was relatively new when Michael was in it, but when students…take off this coming fall they’ll have a whole new state of the art building complete with a hangar and an airplane.
“The opportunities that these kids are going to have are going to be ten – fold the opportunities that we had and it’s just going to grow and get better.”
Lou Amadee / Aviation Instructor EVIT
“We are going to introduce the students to all different aviation subjects, jobs, opportunities things like that, everything from flying to being an aircraft mechanic and air traffic controller.”
Another amazing aspect of the program, college credits.
“They offer a lot of their classes for dual enrollment which you know in my profession, the pilot profession, a lot of aviation professions, seniority matters, so the earlier you can get in just gives you an upper hand.”
“And they’re taking it at a lower tuition rate for the community college so that saves a lot of money.”
A smooth take-off for students aspiring to be in the aviation industry. Kim Martinez reporting.
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Joseph Valek / Senior@ 00:01
Michael Charlton / Air Traffic Control Specialist @ 00:38
Lou Amadee / Aviation Instructor East Valley Institute of Technology @ 00:51

STEM and Vocational skills--Black History Month

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With a population that is more than 3-quarters African American, a Milwaukee School has made it a goal to help this underserved group succeed. As we mark Black History Month check out what they’re doing through an exciting combination of Science, technology, engineering and math as well as vocational training to help these students qualify for key jobs in the future.

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Bridgeman Flowers / Senior

“I’m taking an engineering course it’s teaching us about the principals and the basics behind engineering and different aspects of engineering kind of like open our minds to different outlets of it.”

Messmer High School / Milwaukee WI

Opening their eyes to as many opportunities as possible. At Messmer High School that means teaching STEM skills side-by-side with vocational training. A POWERFUL COMBINATION for the minority students who attend this school in southside Milwaukee where 77 percent of the student body is African American.

Jim Piatt /President Messmer Catholic Schools

“Students of color and most students of central cities in the United States have not had significant exposure to these careers. We intend to be part of the solution to put a stop to that.”

As Jim Piatt, President of Messmer schools explains, after that it’s up to the students to decide which direction they want to go.

“For us it’s very important that the student determine their best track,.”

Bridgeman Flowers / Senior

“We put the floor in there, we put the tile in there we did all the plumbing, the electric work and it was just like to see like oh, I can do something like that.”

Bridgeman Flowers is thinking about a career in carpentry or engineering thanks to that hands-on experience, and he’s not alone.

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“Because minorities and women are so under-represented in fields such as engineering combining both STEM with teaching the trades is opening up a whole new world of opportunities.”

Jania Murrell / Junior

“You see one woman doing it, you are going to want to do it too, because you see, somebody else is putting a step forward for us women and getting us focused on, “oh, just because the men are doing don’t mean you can’t do it.”

But at Messmer, it’s not just the education that’s making a difference but emphasis on optimism and encouragement with an eye on something bigger.

“We consider ourselves as part of building Milwaukee and this time when we build Milwaukee, everybody gets to participate.”

An all inclusive future including students of all races and gender. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Bridgeman Flowers / Senior @ 00:03

Messmer High School / Milwaukee, WI @ . 00:15

Jim Piatt /President Messmer Catholic Schools @ 00:33

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:12

Jania Murrell / Junior @ 1:21

MMA Fighter Expands Schools During COVID Due to High Demand

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Expanding your academic reach might not be what most schools have been able to do during the pandemic, but in Florida, a championship MMA fighter with a big vision has seen this as the perfect time to grow his fight for high-risk teens, possibly because now more than ever some students need the kind of support he’s offering. Kim Martinez reports.
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Daniel Puder / MLMPI
“If you are not fluid in the cage as when I was an undefeated MMA fighter, you better learn how to be fluid.”
To be sure, Daniel Puder a former MMA championship fighter is fluid especially when it comes to finding effective ways to help high risk kids. He’s now successfully running schools that not only focus intensely on students’ academic needs but give his kids invaluable life coaching supporting both their emotional and mental well-being.
“The idea is if you are 100 percent focused on life, you’ll get 100 percent out!
At My Life My Power International Preparatory Academies, the first 30 minutes of EVERY school day are spent in classes that focus on motivating students. All of the teachers are trained on Daniel Puder’s own brand of self-help for high risk kids.
“So we have students that are in foster care, that are coming out of a DDJ Program that are homeless, we’ve had like falling out, being expelled, being arrested, like you name it, we see it all.”
“So getting them to come in here, and understanding why they are doing this, this isn’t just about learning math science english social studies, this is about a step by step how to show up for themselves.”
Kim Martinez / Reporting
“The Preparatory Academy started with just three students two years ago and now they have six locations and 500 students. That’s a big undertaking since address every child’s needs every child’s interest and they’re looking for every path to success for each of their kids.”
“Like use us to add value, but if you ever need something, come back!”
As the My Life My Power Schools expand, the settings remain small, so students who might have been at risk for dropping out, instead show up every day to learn in an environment conducive to their success.
“We don’t want big schools, I want tighter knit family based schools where kids can learn in small ratios of classes where they can have hands on.”
Schools that are fluid, that focus on the future, and ultimately change lives by changing students’ mindsets, That’s what you’ll find when you step onto a My Life My Power campus. Kim Martinez reporting.
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Daniel Puder / MLMPI @ 00:01
Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:20

High School Engineers Get Hands On In Makers Lab

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More and more students are getting a jump on their life plans as early as high school. From college credits to simply exposure and experience, it’s a win-win for students. This week, an engineering class that students are using to “build” on a potential future in that field. Kim Martinez reports.
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Chris Freestone / Engineering Teacher
“I wish I had this much stuff when I was a high school student because it’s really cool.”
St. Augustine / San Diego, CA
Just chalk that statement up to teacher envy! Chris Freestone, engineering teacher, is talking about his classroom, which includes a Makers Space.
“A makers space is essentially a place where students can come in and learn how to use tools and how to kind of improve their hands on skills.”
“So this thing is an amazing bridge, why is it so strong ? And these cross pieces add a lot of strength.”
President, Ed Hearn says the makers space supports a trend the all boys school, St. Augustine, saw developing among its students.
Ed Hearn / President St. Augustine
“More boys every year were taking calculus or leaving school here and majoring in a math orientated course , so we started going, well how do we support that, “We want to see if it can withstand earthquakes both in the summer and the winter.”
Building competitions are just another way that interest is supported.
”I like to give them kind of a hands on learning experience, in how do you design a bridge how do you make something strong ?”
Parent, Tony D’Agnese (don-yeah-zay), an engineer himself, calls the lab an incredible learning opportunity.
Tony D’Agnese / Parent
“It gives them a chance to understand what they want to do and it gives them an understanding what engineering is about what discovery is.”
His son max agrees and sees another advantage.
Max D’Agnes (don – yeah -zay) – Junior
“I can go into college already knowing how to use these machines, and how to operate these things.”
“For these guys it’s kind of cool for them to have the opportunity to come in and say ok well what type of engineering do I like, like do I like electrical engineering for part of our electrical engineering projects? Do I like the design where I come up with the design and I just hand it off to the manufacturing guys and they do everything ? Or like do I like the hands on stuff? ”
“I think we are pretty privileged to be here, and having all this cool equipment.
Kim Martinez reporting.
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Chris Freestone / Science Teacher @ 00:01
St. Augustine / San Diego, CA @ 00:05
Ed Hearn / President St. Augustine @ 00:41
Tony D’Agnese / Parent @ 01:14
Max D’Agnese / Junior @ 01:22

Black History Month -- Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King

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Schools across the country take time during February to learn about the contributions and achievements of African Americans. In today’s Ed Newsfeed, Monica Pierre talks one-on-one with students in Louisiana about the life of Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Monica Pierre / Reporting

“During this Black History Month, we’ve gathered with some young students and we’re asking them to share their thoughts about the iconic and beloved, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Nylah Turner/ 4th Grade, St. Mary’s Academy

“I feel great because he stopped segregation for black and white people so we could all have the same equal rights.”

Kirsten Robinson/ 7th Grade, St. Anthony School
“More like a hero…No telling what the world would be if it wasn’t for him. We have other role models, but he was kind of one of the biggest ones”.

Alexa Ortiz/ 6th Grade,St. Anthony School

“I was probably about like six when I heard about Dr. King. Um, I felt so inspired by him.”

Khyle Lee/ 4th Grader, St. Mary’s Academy
“We are planning a Black History Program. We had Dr. Martin Luther King’s Mass, and we had this book called, My Brother Martin that his sister wrote.”

Jayla Isaac/ 4th Grade, St. Mary’s Academy

“Why do you think it’s important, especially as a young person to know about the life and works of Dr. King? ‘You can remember what he’s done for us. And, what he did good about segregation to other people so people won’t have problems’”.
“I think that he’s an amazing person”.

5th grader …Bailee Marshall sees King’s legacy living on in her brother.
Bailee Marshall /5th Grade/ St. Anthony School

“He likes to tell us a lot of things about our ancestors and stuff that happened in the past and how we got to where we are now.”

Kaija Smith/4th Grade, St. Mary’s Academy

“So what do you think Dr. King would be most proud of today? ‘He would be most proud of what he accomplished and all that he did. Without him, I wouldn’t have my best friends that are white also.’”

“I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Monica Pierre reporting.

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Monica Pierre / Reporting @ :01

Nylah Turner/ 4th Grade, St. Mary’s Academy @00:14

Kirsten Robinson / 7th Grade, St. Anthony School @00:22

Alexa Ortiz / 6th Grade, St. Anthony School @00:33

Khyle Lee / 4th Grade, St Mary’s Academy @00:47

Jayla Isaac /4th Grade, St. Mary’s Academy @01:01

Bailee Marshall / 5th Grade, St. Anthony School @01:21

Kaija Smith / 4th Grade, St. Mary’s Academy @01:26

Historically Black Colleges & Universities

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Black History month is a time to honor many of the leaders of the African American community, but it’s also a time to point out, how many of them got there. Historically Black Colleges and Universities offer the African American leaders of tomorrow the opportunity to walk the same halls and learn in the same classrooms as Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey. This time of year, there’s a big push to inform potential future students about the opportunities of HBCU’s.

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HBCU Recruitment Day / Phoenix, AZ
It’s called “Stepping” and these alumni sorority sisters are performing at the kickoff of a gathering to inform High School students about Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

There are 107 “HBCU’s” in the nation. At recruiting parties such as this all around the country, young Black students are encouraged, by prominent speakers to attend schools where they can identify with everyone around them.

“It’s the only time in your life where you are going to be in an environment where everybody looks like you, and everybody is pulling for you to succeed!” Amen. Applause

“The difference is, you go to a school with a lot of people that look just like you 1:18 a lot of people are doing very well, a lot of people want to help you succeed.”

The event gives black students something to think about and a chance to visit with representatives of several of the schools all in one place. Some students are immediately drawn to the idea of being surrounded by other Black scholars, all learning and growing together.

Winston Brown / Senior
“It’s important to me because as I’ve gone through my years of elementary, middle school, and high school it’s always just been me, me as one black kid in class each one of my classes, I’ve lived in three different states throughout my life and it’s been the same thing.”

Winston Brown is headed to Morehouse College next year following in the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior the HBCU’s most noted Alumnus. And while Winston has made up his mind where he’s going, for some of the younger students, it’s a tough call!

Maya Smith / Junior
“I’m actually going this month to tour Spellman, after I tour I’ve got to make my decision.:”

Maya’s mother, is the President of the Phoenix chapter of “Jack and Jill” , a black mother’s support group. Jack and Jill sponsors events just like this in every state in the country.

Dawn Smith / President , Jack & Jill of American Inc.

“So to be able to have opportunities to attend all African American schools where not only the students are black but also the staff who are rooting for you and wanting you to succeed and if there is an issue you can rule out that it’s about racism.”

Event organizer Doctor Lesley Williams who attended Spellman says the experience was life changing.

Dr. Lesley Williams / HBCU Event Organizer

“We didn’t have to waste a lot time talking about our differences it was more so we were galvanized by the fact that we had our similarities and we were able to really push each other to excel educationally as well as personally”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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HBCU Recruitment Day / Phoenix, AZ @ :01
Winston Brown / Senior @ 00:54
Maya Smith / Junior 1:24
Dawn Smith / President , Jack & Jill of American Inc. @ 1:44
Dr. Lesley Williams / HBCU Event Organizer @ 2:10

Low-Income Students Become Tech Ambassadors

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How to give minority students an advantage in a high tech world! At Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy in Milwaukee, it’s all about hands on experience, serving both the social media needs of the school and addressing those IT questions when they’re able. Kim Martinez reports.
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“I am a tech ambassador.”
Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy/ Milwaukee, WI
An impressive title for an impressive job. Jahmari (juh-mar-ee) Hill, is just one of dozens of students that handle most of the technical needs at Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a school almost entirely made up of lower-income, African American kids.
“We help around school we help teachers, students like with their tech issues and other issues. :48 my favorite part is it’s :53 I like helping people, like I like going around helping others.
Nazir Ali Powells /UWM Freshman/Help Desk Mgr.
“Technology ambassadors handle all level one technology issues with students and staff.”
“If it’s a problem you come to a technology ambassador and they can come help you with it.”
A former “Tech Ambassador” himself, in addition to attending college, , Nazir (nah-zir) Ali Powells, now works as the Academy’s Help Desk Manager.
He knows first-hand how the school’s belief in expanding students tech and social media reach pays off.
“The video is about getting vaccinated.”
“Also we are on s we are are IT, Social Media, tech ambassadors. :56 All the social media all the content that we post is majority student led 1:02 uhm tech ambassadors come up with the ideas, they are behind the camera, they are on the camera.”
A Senior at the Academy, Kahnye (con-yeah) Ali Powells says the social media aspect of the program is what attracted him.
Kahnye Ali Powells / Senior
“That’s why I really joined the program, the tech ambassador program, so like cus you know I really liked technology and you know media and stuff like that so..
“New name same game…”
Videos such as this one revealing a new name and logo for the school are what makes the job of tech ambassador so much fun! And puts the students in a great position to succeed in the future in our high tech world. Kim Martinez reporting.
Tag Line
Since 2012, 100 percent of the graduates from Howard Fuller, a public charter school have been accepted into colleges and universities.
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Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy/ Milwaukee, WI @ 00:01
Jahmari Hill / Junior @ 00 :21
Nazir Ali Powells /UWM Freshman/Help Desk Mgr. @ 00:39
Kahnye Ali Powells / Senior @ 01:20

Brayan Arias -- Extraordinary Student

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Not all students come with the drive that it takes to succeed, but sometimes, with attention and care they find it. This week, meet a student who turned his spark into a flame and now looks at a whole new future thanks to a devoted family and principal.

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“I feel like I was just struggling with keeping things balanced.”

El Puente High School / Milwaukee

Brayan Arias is talking to his high school principal about his transformation from a struggling student with poor attendance and bad grades to a class leader with high marks.

Lynn Klipstine / El Puente High School Principal

“Something happened where all of a sudden he made it a priority, he invested in himself.”

It was a health scare that motivated Brayan to change his ways. He learned he had type two diabetes.

Brayan Arias / Senior

“Just having that life or death experience helped shape me and realize that I had to do something about it.”

And he did do something, not just about his health but his school performance as well.

“Slowly but surely I started realizing it’s the same way with life if I want to stay healthy I gotta put in the work to do that and if I want good grades I have to do the same thing.”

“It was very hard (so sorry)…”

Brayan’s mother was one of those he turned to for the help he needed, along with his high school principal it all added up to an incredible success.

“I went from a one point two to a four-point-oh and hopefully that four point oh will allow me to go to U-W Madison. Which is my dream school to go for psychology.”

Kim Martinez/Reporting

“So Brian’s transformation has been so extraordinary that now as a Senior at El Puente he has applied to 23 different colleges.”

While Brayan waits to see which colleges he’ll get into, he’s staying active with his role as a mentor for other students.

“I think he’s that confidence is growing in him, he exudes it now.”

“Other kids see it and I think they can see his leadership and qualities and 2:56 some kids will be like, does he work here, and it’s like no he’s a student, but he’s got that presence here, which has really been great for our community.”

Brayan says it was the first step for him that was the hardest.

“I feel like the number one advice I would give is, seek help.”

“I improved is because rather than just deal with it, I looked for help, I asked Lynn, I told her I needed help, she gave me the help I needed. I told my mom I needed help, she gave me help, but obviously if I don’t tell them I need help they have no clue.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

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El Puente High School / Milwaukee, Wisconsin. @ 00:01

Lynn Klipstine / El Puente High School Principal. @ 00:19

Brayan Arias / Senior. @ 00:30

Kim Martinez/Reporting. @ 01:16

Move This World – Social, Emotional Learning

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Teaching students to understand their own emotions and those of others is all part of the social and emotional work being done by a program known as Move This World. It’s helping students well being and teaching them be empathetic to others. It’s an addition to curriculum that one school says is making a huge difference for their students. Kim Martinez reports.
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“When you hear the music, do a five-second movement that reflects how you feel about your classroom community today”
Rolling Hills Elementary/ Lancaster, TX
This is the first thing you’ll see students doing almost every morning at Rolling Hills Elementary a public school in Lancaster, Texas.
It’s called Move This World and it’s made a world of difference to these youngsters.
“If you’re feeling down, Move This World will kind of pump your energy up for the rest of the day you’ll feel excited about anything you do.”
Cherish Pipkins / Principal of Rolling Hills Elementary
“Move This World is a social emotional learning program. It helps our students with breathing techniques to be aware of their emotions, they’re able to communicate how they’re feeling.
To school principal Cherish Pipkins, getting the kids in a good place mentally, emotionally, and physically before learning starts each day is as simple as performing the fun yet impactful exercises with elements of counting, dancing and breathing,
“We’re going to take deep breaths to help us pay attention to how we’re feeling.
Just in 7 minutes is setting your students up to have a better day.”
Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“Mrs. Pipkins says the Move This World Curriculum is not only important to her school, but it’s critical for her students, they’re more focused in class and disciplinary referrals have plummeted.”
“It’s critical because our students, even our teachers because they participate as well, are carrying so much during this time.”
Mae Jackson mother of 9-year-old Trendtarvus (Trent-aye-vee-us) says Move This World has completely changed her son’s behavior at school and at home for the positive.
Mae Jackson / Mother
“It has kept Trentdavus out of trouble he was one of the ones that always stayed in trouble but he hasn’t been in any trouble because he learned how to maintain it with the techniques he’s learned from Move This World.
Trendtarvus Fletcher / 3rd Grade
“I think it helps my emotions when I get mad, when I’m feeling bad about myself.”
“4,3,2,1”
All of the children, from the youngest to the oldest, find themselves getting involved in the fun activities, and they also realize there’s a larger purpose here, they’re each playing a role in moving this world.
“In like my emotions sometimes if I get upset or sad it gives me time to think .”
“Pay Attention everybody!”
“It helps me because i put myself in someone else’s shoe, that means like your putting yourself in someone else’s feeling.”
“It’s like when you come to school and do Move This World everything changes.”
“See ya later!!”
Kim Martinez Reporting.
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Rolling Hills Elementary/ Lancaster, TX @ 00:01
Mahni McGriff / 11 years old. @ 00:23
Cherish Pipkins / Principal of Rolling Hills Elementary @ 00:34
Kim Martinez/ Reporting @ 1:05
Mae Jackson / Mother @ 1:34
Trendtarvus Fletcher / 9 years old @ 1:46

Online Summer Camp

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Summertime… lots of kids spend their time at camp, but the pandemic has changed that for many. There are options however, one is an online camp that brings kids the fun of activities and socialization without having to even leave home. Kim Martinez reports.
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“This is the rainbow café, I drew it for my business camp…”
Admittedly an online business class for kids is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Summer camps, but for Quinn Cayer (care)
and thousands of students nationwide – Online Summer Camp is the new normal! And Quinn’s parents love it.
Chris Cayer / Father
“It fosters a sense of interest in her that is awesome to watch.”
Tracey Cayer / Mother
“They’re basically drop in classes, they happen at set times, uhm and you can drop-in, drop-out whenever you want so it’s something structured that gives Quinn something fun and interactive to do.”
Charles Woods, head of schools for the online charter Stride, says, more and more parents are finding it’s the perfect solution for their students in light of the pandemic.
Charles Woods / Stride Head of Schools
“So as a parent you still want something for your kid to do and as a kid, you want them to have something to do.”
“Something that they can socialize with other kids, as well as take interest and do something that they are interested in an intrigued by to increase their learning throughout the Summer.”
Using the same technology for their online classes, they’re offering all sorts of options.
“We’ll have everything from cooking classes to business classes, teaching students how to start their own business, to technology classes to interactive gaming. 3:33 to reading clubs, book clubs.”
Quinn Cayer / 3rd Grader
“The camps get me like involved in other human beings, and cus like I get really bored when both of my parents are working.”
The socialization is another important part of the equation.
“It’s just a great way to make sure she’s having interaction with some kids her own age and not just talking to her parents all the time.”
For middle and high schoolers in addition to academics, the programs are centered around socializing through, photography, videography and even interactive gaming. For students who need to make up or catch up after last year, there are credit recovery classes online, just like you would find in a traditional brick and mortar.
“We have courses in algebra, English, Social Studies, Biology, Science and of those courses that they need credits for or make up credits they can take those as well.”
Plenty of options to both move ahead academically as well as enjoy summer camp type activities, without leaving home. Kim Martinez reporting.
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Chris Cayer / Father @ 00:21
Tracey Cayer / Mother @ 00:27
Charles Woods / Stride Head of Schools @ 00:48
Quinn Cayer / 3rd Grader @ 1;21

Cristo Rey Work Study Program

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What if low-income high school teens could get an excellent education and a job at a professional office? Students are lining up to grab ahold of this opportunity. The catch is that they have to pay for this high school experience themselves. But Cristo Rey schools have cleverly figured out how the students can cover their own tuition, get a great education, while being exposed to the highest paying professions. Kim Martinez takes us to Tucson, Arizona to talk with Cristo Rey students.

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Daniela Figueroa/ Former San Miguel HS Student-Worker/Cristo Rey Network

“So when it came time for graduation, I was like, wow it’s me again. 4:39 You know is there a possibility for me coming back ? and thankfully they did.”

Daniela Figueroa is proof you can go home again. After going away to college she’s returned to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona for a job at the law firm where,

as part of the San Miguel Corporate Work Study Program, she worked to help pay for her high school education.

San Miguel High School / Tucson, Arizona

San Miguel High School is part of the network of 37 Cristo Rey High Schools across the country. The idea for the program came from a priest.

In 1996, Father John Foley, who saw lots of students getting a great education in private schools thought it was too bad not everyone had the same chances.

Samantha Miller / V.P. Corporate Work Study Operations

“He said “everybody deserves that education. But not everybody can afford that education. So the cristo rey network was started.”

“He went and he knocked on the doors of businesses in downtown Chicago and he said would you hire a high school student it would help pay for a portion of their tuition, and people said yeah we would do that.”

Time and time again, Samantha Miller, who runs the corporate work study program says she’s seen what a difference it makes in student’s lives.

“I was the first in my family to go to college.”

” Pleadings and then afterwards check out the client docs and then correspondence.”

Now finished with college, Daniela is using her job back at the law firm to help pay to get her master’s degree in Public Administration.

Ironically, the job she has now, entails supervising current San Miguel Cristo Rey students.

Stephanie Hurtado /San Miguel HS Student

“It helps me see that I do have a future and that’s something I want to do and keep going and seeing her and how she did it, I say I can do it too.”

Daniela’s former supervisor agrees, she sees the program as a big leg up on their future.

Valarie Castillo / Rusing Lopez & Lizardi, Legal Assistant

“I think it kind of sets them up a little bit for the real world to be able to interact with people and just their communication skills.”

San Miguel boasts dozens of corporate partners, and Daniela’s opportunity to find a job after college at a Cristo Rey supporter is in no way unique.

“Currently with the partners that we have at the moment we have around 85 corporate partners approximately 25 percent of them have alumni working for them.”

Nationwide this powerful program is proving wildly successful, giving students not only an excellent chance for a great education, but work-life experience that’s priceless. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Daniela Figueroa/ Former San Miguel HS Student-Worker/Cristo Rey Network @ 00:05

San Miguel High School/ Tucson, Arizona. 00:27

Samantha Miller / V.P. Corporate Work Study Operations 00:46

Stephanie Hurtado / San Miguel HS Student @ 1:30

Valarie Castillo / Rusing Lopez & Lizardi, Legal Assistant. @ 1:40

Summer Band Camp Classroom

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The pandemic silenced many student band rooms across the country. But one New Orleans band director is helping students make up for lost time. Monica Pierre reports.
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Landry Walker HS Marching Band/New Orleans, LA
The best high school marching bands can take the field and make it look easy. The sound, precision, concentration.
“Just hit it. Nobody slowing you down but you.”
Wilbert Rawlins has been teaching high school band for 28 years. He’s says he’s noticed some students coming from middle school struggling when they enter his band room. He worries about the impact the pandemic will have on students’ skill level and confidence.
Wilbert Rawlins/ Band Director
“So, I decided maybe have this camp so that I could not only help some of the students that are going into my program but see if I could actually help every program by taking this kids now, rising 9th graders now, teaching the basic fundamentals of music and elevating their thinking to high school band because it’s much different than middle school band.”
Ajah Jackson, who also sings, admits to feeling nervous on day one but has noticed improvement.
Ajah Jackson/8th Grade
“Band has really boosted my confidence more and it’s made me able to push my voice. My breathing with band has gotten way better.”
Rene Watson, Jr. says there are several reasons why he enjoys participating in summer band camp.
Rene Watson, Jr./8th Grade
“I like coming to this camp because I meet a lot of new people. And, a lot of new friends and stuff. And mostly, it’s because this is something, this is something that I found that I can do that take me along for the rest of my life”
Wilbert Rawlins is not only an instructor but a motivator. He says band lessons are life lessons.
“Success is where preparation meets opportunity. So, once you prepare for something, and you get an opportunity to showcase it, that is when you can truly be successful.”
Monica Pierre reporting.
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Landry Walker HS Marching Band / New Orleans, LA @00:02
Wilbert Rawlins / Band Director @00:44
Ajah Jackson / 8th Grade @00:56
Rene Watson, Jr. / 8th Grade @01:15

A Day in the Life of Homeschoolers

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With schools closed and students at home, moms and dads all across the country are joining the ranks of the one million families who were already homeschooling their children. This week, hear from two families who have homeschooling down to a science, check out a day in their life. Kim Martinez reports.

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“Elijah is very impetuous! Hyper? Acting quickly with little thought and hasty. describes your little brother, there you go!”

Homeschool / Surprise, AZ

If you’re thinking Aidan Bass is having a good time with his homeschooling, you’d be correct, the 12-year-old loves it, especially the way his mother teaches.

Aidan Bass / Homeschool Student

“She can always find a way to make something fun with learning “

The latest estimates from the department of education put the number of homeschooled students at more than one-million-69-thousand nationwide. And as varied as those students are so too are the ways their parents are teaching.

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“So Ashley I guess a lot of people probably would think that you would do a lot of online stuff, homeschooling and I’m sure some parents do, but you choose books right why, well for my son he learns better from books and I like for him to be able to open it up and refer back to it and just see the information.”

“We’ve done a frog a brain, a liver a heart a worm.”

From science experiments to English, the curriculum mirrors what is taught in traditional schools, but many find they can work faster and kids say it’s a great way to really learn.

“Because he’s smart, he’s very smart and he learns very quickly and so when he was in school he would learn the subject way sooner than the other kids. and by the time they got to where he was, he was bored.

“If I don’t understand it she’ll teach it differently.”

Ashley’s friend Nicole is also a homeschool mom. With three kids she says organization is the key.

Nicole Hames / Homeschool Mom

“I like being prepared, I keep their grades in here and at the end of the week I go online and there’s a program that I can keep their grades in and so then every quarter I can print out report cards it will keep everything and make transcripts later on.”

These moms will tell you it’s well worth the effort, and for their children it works.

Lani Hames / Homeschooled

“I think it’s pretty cool, because It’s a lot of work and she’s doing the best for us.”

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Homeschool/ Surprise, AZ 00:01

Aidan Bass / Homeschool Student @ 00:21

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:45

Ashley Bass / Homeschool Mom @00:50

Nicole Hames / Homeschool Mom @ 01:49

Lani Hames / Homeschool Student @ 02:07

Harmony Project Teaches Music to Disadvantaged Kids

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When an innovative Music Program for disadvantaged kids was first faced with COVID 19, it seemed to some, it would be impossible to continue. But the Harmony Project people did not miss a beat. Check out their success at keeping this California born but now nationwide program going. Kim Martinez reports.

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“Each child would record their own part on the violin or the flute or the trumpet.” “On the back end the adults splice it all together and put it together. So you’ll see some of the teaching artist, some of the students, it’s really, really cool.”

These virtual concerts are the result of the pandemic meeting resilient spirit of the Harmony Project, which brings the gift of music to disadvantaged kids.

Myka Miller / CEO Harmony Project
“The goal of Harmony Project is to provide music access to kids who can’t afford lessons or don’t have access at school.”

Pre-Covid, the Concerts were in person and were always a big, yet worthwhile, production for the Harmony Project staff. They’ve grown in popularity from what started in Los Angeles back in 2001 to now seven U.S. cities. Students are given free instruments, weekly lessons, and an opportunity to participate in live concerts in their communities.

Jimema (he-men-uh) Ramos has played the viola since the third grade thanks to the Harmony Project.

Jimena Ramos / Harmony Project Participant
“It’s not just a program for music it’s a program to better yourself, and not only that but learn new things.”

But then the pandemic hit.

“I have to admit, that I never thought that teaching music online would be possible.” “But very quickly we learned how to do it.”

First show me your best bow grip.

Moving all of their students to virtual has meant a teacher in Miami may have students from Phoenix or New York in a lesson. But it’s working.

“Harmony project really took up with it and said, “No, we are doing this we are going to keep going with this.”

“I do think it is a core piece our life, the art, it’s the thing that always gets cut from schools.”

Not this time. Refusing to let COVID cut their life-changing program, the devoted people at the Harmony Project say their work is simply too important.

“It’s not just a program for music it’s a program to better yourself.”

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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To learn more about the Harmony Project and see if there is a program available in your area go to www.Harmony-Project.org

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Myka Miller / CEO Harmony Project @00:16
Harmony Project / Phoenix @1:03

Mental Health Concerns as Kids go Back To School

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As students head back to class after so much time learning virtually, many will still be dealing with the fears that they suffered from during the pandemic. Some deep seated and troubling, and impacting kids of all ages. This week, advice from an expert on how to calm those concerns and keep your kids safe, Kim Martinez reports.
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Amber Chudzik/Licensed Associate Counselor
“I did a lesson with my little guys and we talked about worry and the number one worry that they had and we’re talking kinder first second someone is dying, they’re worried about their loved people dying.”
Amber Chudzik is a Licensed Associate Counselor in Arizona public schools. She, like the rest of the nation, is seeing a huge increase in depression and suicidal thoughts in kids of all ages.
“It’s remarkable the number of kids who are struggling right now.”
All exacerbated by the extra anxiety associated with going back to in-person learning after so much time in virtual classrooms. Seeing the warning signs that your child is depressed or even experiencing suicidal thoughts is of course key.
“Sleeping way too much or not sleeping at all. We’re talking about over-eating or not eating at all. We’re talking about irritability especially in young kids there’s this marked increase in just general agitation.”
Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“So how does social media play into the anxiety kids are experiencing right now?”
“It exposes them to things that developmentally, they’re not ready for. Things in the world that they’re not ready for.. I worry about it a lot i worry about the impact of social media on just how our kids communicating with each other. How they can have a dialogue when they don’t agree with each other. They are really struggling with some of these foundational human skills with communicating with each other.”
Limiting social media as well as validating their feelings through listening can make a big difference. And for younger kids, in the days leading up to school there’s some good books to read and discuss together.
“So my favorite 2 books especially for littles are helping hand and the invisible string these are why i love these especially with our littles who might be struggling with the separation of leaving home for the first time who haven’t been in a pre-school environment or haven’t been in a day care is this idea of leaving a mom or a dad or a caregiver whose been providing full time care for them and so those two books do a beautiful job of reminding us how we are connected and how we are close even if we are not right with each other.”
“So what tips do you have for parents on that first day of school?”
“The encouragement to parents on that first day back to school is to do the quick goodbye. “I love you so much, I hope you have a great day, I’ll pick you up after school, I’ll meet you right here, I’ll be waiting for you when you get out, that quick goodbye is powerful in sending our kids the message of you are so safe you are going to have a great day I believe in your ability to be on your own, to take care of yourself and then you are going to come back and we are going to be back together again.”
Kim Martinez Reporting.
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Amber Chudzik / Licensed Associate Counselor @ 00:01
Kim Martinez/ Reporting @ 00:54

Distance Learning - Advice on Getting Started

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With schools closed nationwide and parents doing the teaching, lots of moms and dads are finding it a challenge to get organized and have questions about schedules and routines. Who better to ask for advice than moms who’ve been educating their kids at home themselves for years. Here’s a homeschool mom who understands it can be overwhelming but says don’t be afraid to be flexible.

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Kim Martinez / Reporting

“Families across the nation are finding themselves in unchartered waters and that’s having their kids home with them 24/7 and being responsible for their education. So we are turning to some of the nation’s top homeschooling parents who have done this for years to get some of the best tips.

We have Lacey Markowski joining us today, she’s here to talk about families that are just feeling overwhelmed.”

Lacey Markowski / Homeschool Mom

“Even I am feeling overwhelmed, with all of the information and just the situation around us, but it’s okay, we all are feeling overwhelmed. I think right now it’s really important to cut yourself some slack because we aren’t living in normal times.”

As a homeschool parent, I’m loving all the virtual tours all the links but there’s a lot coming at us right now. So I think what we need to do is one focus down to the basics and the other supplemental efforts will just start to flow into place as you find a routine.”

“ I know a lot of families are getting on the internet right now and trying to find scheduling tips like, “how do I structure my kids day myself ?” Is that something that you believe parents should be really concerned about is a strict schedule or do you think it’s okay to be kind of fluid with it?”

“ My experience is, the routine is key to the entire day, to make sure all of the pieces fit, so establishing a routine and engaging our kids with these choices, even our youngest family members understand pictures and sequencing, so I think that putting less pressure on what time you start and focus more on the order of events and just getting started is where you should begin your homeschool quest.”

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Kim Martinez / Reporting

Lacey Markowski / Homeschool Mom

Center for Urban Teaching Summer Program

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For teachers and school leaders, taking advantage of a unique Summer School program in Milwaukee spells opportunity. The Center for Urban Teaching provides educators the tools they’ll need to become the best of the best at what they do. Kim Martinez reports.
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Center for Urban Teaching/Milwaukee, WI
While this may look like a day of fun, in actuality this is just a small part of the serious business the Center for Urban Teaching (or C-Foot as it’s called) takes on each Summer. Ten days of instruction for teachers and school leaders in Milwaukee. In turn they take what they’ve learned and put it to work on 19 different campuses for Summer sessions.
Krysta DeBoer / Director Center for Urban Teaching
“Schools are giving the keys and the kids to us for six weeks during the summer and they get to have that opportunity to not just listen and take in techniques, but actually practice in a real life setting.”
cFut Director, Krysta DeBoer, says this year 220 teachers and school leaders are enrolled. 70 percent of them have never taught or been Principals before.
“It hits three bases we are preparing teachers, we are preparing leaders and it helps prevent summer learning loss for students.”
Principal Angela Colbert Brown who also instructs, sees these sessions as more important than ever now.
“Good morning I love your eye contact.”
Angela Colbert Brown / Leadership Training Program
“This summer is really important for us as leaders and teachers because of the pandemic, our scholars have lost a lot of academic time, so I really think this year it’s really critical for us to be in the schools.”
Being back in the schools and prepared for all that requires is where cFut comes in.
Elizabeth Aviles/ Future Principal
“Today we’re working on actually different skills of like classroom management and lesson planning which is just everything that teachers do.”
Elizabeth Aviles (ave-uh-less) is among those teachers who will be principals next year. She says what they’re learning combined with hands-on opportunity is vital. Future Teacher, Ted Molkentin (moh-can-teen) agrees.
Ted Molkentin / Future Teacher
“First Is the professional development sessions we are being trained by teachers how to teach with all of the challenges that come along with the job.”
we see what good teaching looks like.
“It gives us those critical at bats by giving us hundreds of hours in the classroom before we even start our student teaching experience.”
Teacher quality is considered the number one determining factor in student achievement. cFut’s goal, is to ensure their participants are getting what they need to become those quality teachers. Kim Martinez reporting.
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Center for Urban Teaching/ Milwaukee, WI. @ 00:01
Krysta DeBoer / Director Center for Urban Teaching @ 00:24
Angela Colbert Brown / Leadership Training Program @ 1:08
Elizabeth Aviles/ Future Principal @ 1:24
Ted Molkentin / Future Teacher @ 1:45

Distance Learning - Advice on Getting Started

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With schools closed nationwide and parents doing the teaching, lots of moms and dads are finding it a challenge to get organized and have questions about schedules and routines. Who better to ask for advice than moms who’ve been educating their kids at home themselves for years. Here’s a homeschool mom who understands it can be overwhelming but says don’t be afraid to be flexible.

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Kim Martinez / Reporting

“Families across the nation are finding themselves in unchartered waters and that’s having their kids home with them 24/7 and being responsible for their education. So we are turning to some of the nation’s top homeschooling parents who have done this for years to get some of the best tips.

We have Lacey Markowski joining us today, she’s here to talk about families that are just feeling overwhelmed.”

Lacey Markowski / Homeschool Mom

“Even I am feeling overwhelmed, with all of the information and just the situation around us, but it’s okay, we all are feeling overwhelmed. I think right now it’s really important to cut yourself some slack because we aren’t living in normal times.”

As a homeschool parent, I’m loving all the virtual tours all the links but there’s a lot coming at us right now. So I think what we need to do is one focus down to the basics and the other supplemental efforts will just start to flow into place as you find a routine.”

“ I know a lot of families are getting on the internet right now and trying to find scheduling tips like, “how do I structure my kids day myself ?” Is that something that you believe parents should be really concerned about is a strict schedule or do you think it’s okay to be kind of fluid with it?”

“ My experience is, the routine is key to the entire day, to make sure all of the pieces fit, so establishing a routine and engaging our kids with these choices, even our youngest family members understand pictures and sequencing, so I think that putting less pressure on what time you start and focus more on the order of events and just getting started is where you should begin your homeschool quest.”

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Kim Martinez / Reporting

Lacey Markowski / Homeschool Mom

Catching Students Up In Time For New Year

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As schools head back for a new school year, many are hopeful their students have not fallen too far behind due to the pandemic. At one school however in South East Raleigh, they weren’t taking any chances and have been using the summer to make sure their students are ready for a new school year. Brian Jodice reports.
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RISE Public Charter School/ Raleigh, North Carolina
“What we’re going to do together today guys, is we’re going to talk about Dylan.”
Danielle Coats/ Assistant Principal, RISE Public Charter School
“This summer is better because we were able to do it in person, so that made a huge difference, and we were able to accomplish a lot more educational or academic objectives that we were not able to because we simple could not be face-to-face with students last summer. So that made a big difference this time around.”
A big difference on the tail end of what has been, according to Danielle, a disorienting year-and-a-half of schooling during a global pandemic.
“Essentially, as educators we were in school at the same time we were trying to deliver education we were getting educated or needing to get educated ourselves in how to do it in this new medium and this new format, so that was extremely hard having to learn and teach in the same moment at the same time.”
The summer program at RISE is focused on ensuring their students in need of some extra help are ready for their next educational steps.
“Based on our particular students’ needs and just where they were at academically we decided to focus primarily on reading and along with the state’s push for “Read to Achieve Initiative”, we wanted to make sure we met those objectives as well.”
“So we did focus on that for the grades k-Kindergarten through third grade, because we did lose a lot of time, we did try to pivot and we we did try to make as full of a remote schedule as we could, we still lost time in the classroom, and so this summer program with reading has allowed us to make up some of those minutes that we lost some of those hours that we lost. And they basically got to continue with their same grades curriculum with hopes of setting them up for success when they’re back in the classroom.”
And through it all, optimism is on the RISE here at this school knowing a school year is approaching.
For the first time in a while this period in the summer it feels like we’re going into for the most part a normal school year. Brian Jodice reporting.
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RISE Public Charter School/ Raleigh, North Carolina @ 00:01
Danielle Coats/ Assistant Principal, RISE Public Charter School @ 00:35

Paring Down Online Resources

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It’s not just a transition for the students, but parents who’ve never taught before are now finding themselves at the head of their own class. Before they get lost in the sea of “helpful” education resources we have some amazing websites that are organizing the chaos, as well as the best family-friendly podcasts to keep kids occupied and learning for hours. Kim Martinez reports.

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Kim Martinez/ Reporting
Parents are dealing with information overload right now. But there’s some tried and true resources that homeschooling parents have been using for years.

Vicki DeLuzio / Homeschool Parent

“There are so many resources out there.”

Expert Homeschooling mom Vicki Deluzio says there’s a bright side amidst the chaos of the school closures due to COVID-19. She say’s many parents are seeing for the first time just how many free resources have been out there all along to help their kids learn from home.

“For the early emerging readers. Reading Eggs is a really great resource out there.”

Readingeggs.com will give you a trial so you can start using it right now free of charge. There are a ton of great non-subscription resources which are always free, no signing up for a trial period necessary. But how do you weed through it all?
Cover with “wideopenschool.org home page” generic then go to tights of the different logos
This is one of the best sites we’ve found, wideopenschool.org. They have several of the bigger names in free education k12 content such as Kahn Academy, Scholastic, Time Kids and National Geographic. It’s all accessible from a very user-friendly homepage catering to all ages, and grade levels.

Kahn Academy offers AP Physics, chemistry and biology lessons, videos and quizzes available for your high school student.

Here’s a first grade level math game from ABCya.com.
and this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the many different resources parents and their children can access from wideopenschool.org.
Vicki is also a big fan of educational age-appropriate podcasts for her kids to help stave off boredom or just to have something to listen to while they do chores around the house.

“So If you’re looking for a little more science to go along with your school work, Brains On. Story Pirates is another great one and you can listen to different kids who have written in, their own stories.”

“And then the Story Pirates come up with songs.”

You can go to Surpriseazmom.com for a list of all of Vicki’s favorite family friendly podcasts. Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:00

Vicki DeLuzio @ 00:28

readingeggs.com @ 00:34

wideopenschool.org @ 00:51

brainson.org @ 01:38

storypirates.com @ 02:07

surpriseazmom.com @ 02:25

All Girl School Opens Amid Pandemic

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Imagine opening a brand new school amid the pandemic! It happened in Las Vegas in an area where families often face financial difficulties. An all-girls school is aiming at changing the outcomes for youngsters who have faced trauma, assault or bullying in their community. Kim Martinez reports.

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“My thought was that’s something really cool.”

These girls are expressing their happiness at being part of a first-of-its kind for Las Vegas, it’s a unique ALL GIRL-public-charter SCHOOL with nearly a hundred middle school girls attending in its first year.

Krista Yarberry / Head of School for the Girls Athletic Leadership School of Las Vegas
“Children actually achieve higher in single gender classes.”

Closing the academic gap in a high-risk population is one of the goals for Girls Athletic Leadership School. A hundred percent of the student population qualifies for free and reduced lunch.
To add to the challenges, as GALS was opening, most schools were closing due to COVID, but they made it a priority to get these girls back into the classroom.

“If you are virtual you have to really be self-disciplined, you have to really be attentive”

So they opened their doors in the best interest of their students with unique needs. They even have a class that focuses on emotional responses the girls may have to different situations such as a pandemic.
And while some can’t be back on campus, it’s been important to keep the school’s doors open.

Krista Yarberry / Head of School for the Girls Athletic Leadership School
“It’s a community in crisis in this area and there is nothing in this area. So, that’s why we’re here, even when Covid did start.”

GALS is the brain child of Krista Yarberry, Head of School along with Jennifer McCloskey. It’s a passion project for both women.

Jennifer McCloskey / Founder & Executive Director of Girls Leadership School, Las Vegas
“Students who are, who just don’t have enough to eat they don’t have clean clothes to wear, they are on the edge of possibly being evicted, or have been evicted and unfortunately we do have a number of kids who have experienced sexual assault and some pretty traumatic things.”

The all-girl school model provides a feeling of safety and security. During a short period time, amid a pandemic these girls have become a community of strength and support.

Heaven Jones / GALS Student
“I realized we are all family even though we look different.”

Melany Diaz/ GALS Student
“It’s true I was like we are like at the end of the day we are still a community even if we live differently or if we live in different houses.

Krista Yarberry / Head of Schools for the Girls Athletic Leadership School of Las Vegas
“In just the few Months that we’ve been open they have already excelled beyond anything I thought I would see this quickly and so I am just amazed at them.”

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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The Girls Athletic Leadership School is located on the campus of UNLV to inspire students to have big dreams after high school. To find out more about GALS, visit GALSLV.ORG

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Krista Yarberry / Head of School for the Girls Athletic Leadership School of Las Vegas @00:18
Jennifer McCloskey / Founder & Executive Director of Girls Leadership School, Las Vegas @1:26
Heaven Jones / GALS Student @1:55
Melany Diaz/ GALS Student @2:00

"I Just Need a Little Space" -- Autism Awareness Month Feature

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The impact of cancelling schools across the country is obviously disconcerting for the traditional student, but for students with disabilities, it is especially difficult. April is Autism Awareness Month, and with that we recognize the difficulties these trying times have been having on some of our most vulnerable students. Meet a teenager with autism who is struggling with the isolation, yet is using her art to remind others the importance of social distancing.

PKG. DANI

I just need a little space. The artist behind this design understands needing space in a way that goes far beyond the Coronavirus. 18-year-old Dani Stephenson has always practiced a bit of social distancing as part of the struggles of having high-functioning autism. But in the last few years, this gifted artist and musician has come out of her shell, thanks to the support she gets at her specialized school. And today she’s able to share her gifts with the world in a very relevant way.

Dani Stephenson / Senior

“The picture is just of a spaceman, he’s laying back, he’s leaning back so It’s like he’s relaxing. Kind of just something that since you’re not going to be able to see each other face-to- face anymore it’s a nice way to say hi but also at the same time say I still need a little bit of space.”

Now quarantined at home, you might think kids with autism would be ok with the isolation that we are all experiencing, but it’s actually quite upsetting for students like Dani who are attending specialized schools that they’ve come to depend on.

“Yes it does but I’ve always appreciated going to school because of the strictness of the schedule.”

As a Senior at Gateway Academy, Dani gets to learn side-by-side with kids, who just like her, are considered “Twice Exceptional.”

O. Robin Sweet / Executive Director Gateway Academy

“Our definition of twice exceptional is all of our students have been diagnosed with high functioning autism. :52 and academically they are capable.”

Up until now, Dani has had a banner year in her young life. Her incredible artistry was even displayed at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.

It’s an accomplishment she doubts she would ever have been able to achieve had she stayed in her previous school and never had the opportunity to transfer to Gateway Academy.

“There’s no comparison between the two experiences. This school has actually made me feel like I can do anything. ”

Dani is proof that students with autism can have a bright future, but they need the right encouragement in the right setting.

”Without being with like minds and feeling safe and served and supported they typically are not going to end up. Being the best that they can be which is shame on us as a society.”

“Dani are you struggling with your last school year at Gateway being cut short?”

“It’s very stressful because I’m used to seeing the same people every day so not seeing them, it’s kind of confusing.”

But she’s thankful for the priceless time she spent here discovering who she is and what she could be, Dani sees a universe of opportunities. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Gateway Academy / Phoenix. @ 00:10

Dani Stephenson / Senior @ 00:42

O. Robin Sweet / Executive Director Gateway Academy @ 1:31

Kim Martinez / Reporting. @ 1:07

Mask Controversy Advice for Parents

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As many schools re-open this year to in-person learning, to mask or not to mask can be a contentious topic for educators and parents. Unfortunately, it’s the kids who are often caught in the middle of differing viewpoints causing extra back-to-school anxiety.
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Amber Chudzik / Licensed Associate Counselor
“It’s divisive, it’s so divisive, and it’s so confusing for our students and for our parents and people feel very strongly one way or the other about it.”
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Regardless of which side of the issue parents are on, a guidance counselor who works inside schools with children daily, has advice for parents to help make a smoother transition during a time where so much is up for debate.
She says the number one thing parents can do is to show positivity and support in front of their children, so they are not confused on how to feel when it comes to adult issues like mask mandates.
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“Trying to set aside our own personal beliefs and if your personal belief is that masks are not the right solution for our students, fight that with the grownups take that to the people who get to make those decisions, but for our children when we’re talking to our children and we’re responding to our children about masks, support whatever that school is doing because it’s also important to know the teachers are not making these mandates, this is coming from way, way above.”
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Chudzik says the back-to-school anxiety goes far beyond just masks and a good general rule of thumb right now is for parents to validate how their children are feeling by just letting their children talk. She says listening, even when a parent can’t change the situation, can really help their kids work through anxious feelings.

How COVID has Changed U.S. Education

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The COVID-19 crisis in America has given rise to a wide range of both difficulties and innovation, especially in the world of academics. After nearly a year of upheaval, many, but not all schools were able to meet the challenge of distance learning which sparked a boom in enrollment for quality online schools, as well as parents getting innovative and starting neighborhood learning pods across the nation. That’s just a couple of examples of why it’s unlikely that education will ever be the same in the U.S. again. Kim Martinez Reports.

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Anais Millares / Teacher
“We found out after school had let out on a Friday that we weren’t coming back and that Monday we were already teaching online.”

COVID forced schools nationwide to shut their doors when it first hit hard almost a year ago, with most schools having no plan in place of how to proceed.

Greg O’Loughlin / Founder Educators Co-op
“It’s almost as though we are teaching on the moon all of a sudden and just said, “you are going to have a lot of questions when you get in there, so good luck!”

Schools were scrambling to find a way to teach their students from a safe distance, with dramatically different degrees of success.

While some made smoother transitions, others had a very bumpy go of it. For many schools, just getting the devices students needed to go virtual proved a challenge that had to be overcome quickly.
One Baton Rouge charter school used their buses to distribute both laptops and lunches to families.

For others the uncertainty of when schools would reopen, prompted tens of thousands to switch to the nation’s most established online schools such as K12.

Jeanna Pignatiello / K12 Senior VP & Chief Academic Officer
“You don’t have to sit in a live session, nor is it appropriate to have a 5 or a 6-year-old sitting in zoom from 8 to 3 everyday just doing passive learning.”

And then came the boom of innovative Learning PODS, with parents pooling resources to hire their own teachers to provide a safe, in-person learning environment.

Giulia Arencibia / Mother
“Being in the classroom for a few hours, wearing mask, six feet apart that just didn’t feel like enough of a normal learning environment to kind of just leave it there, so we are supplementing with interaction with a trained teacher.”

But for some students, especially those with special needs, adjusting to the new reality has been extremely tough.

O. Robin Sweet / Director Gateway Academy
“When we talk to them now we go oh my god, what happened ? He’s doing self-talk, and hiding in the corner, under the desk and now doesn’t want to get on the screen, it’s very frustrating.”

The frustration is also being felt by the five million English as a Second Language Learners.

“Many of our students are living in small cramped quarters, Teachers understand better than anyone how hard this has been on some students and many of those teachers have hit their breaking point.

Anyssa Ramirez / Second Grade Teacher
“It’s a lot on the teacher I haven’t cried in like 2 weeks about it, so here it is it’s all pent up.”

The full impact of the pandemic is yet to be determined but without a doubt, and almost in every way, COVID has changed education in America. Kim Martinez, Reporting.

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Anais Millares / Teacher @00:01
Greg O’Loughlin / Founder Educators Co-op @00:18
Jeanna Pignatiello / K12 Senior VP & Chief Academic Officer @1:04
Giulia Arencibia / Mother @1:22
O. Robin Sweet / Director Gateway Academy @1:46
Anyssa Ramirez / Second Grade Teacher @2:21

Millions of Missing Children Since COVID

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As the number of COVID cases across the U.S. continues to rise, so too does the fall-out from the pandemic to our schools and children. A shocking estimate puts the number of students who have not been in school since March in the MILLIONS. As Kim Martinez reports, a vast majority of those students are thought to be homeless.

Cylinthia Culver / Homeless Mother
“My car, parks, hotels, bouncing from friends house couple of family members anything and anywhere so my kids weren’t really outside.”

From a coveted spot in a homeless shelter, Cylinthia ( SUH-LYNN-THEE-UH) Culver talks about trying to care for her two young boys during the pandemic, while living out of the family car, with no place to go, not even school.

“They were doing online schooling, what I would do is because I had WIFI on my phone, the hotspot I would pay a little extra so they could go to school, They had the laptops and we would sit in the car, go to the park, they could just go online, wipe their faces at the gas station, put on a different t-shirt, and sit in front of the laptop.”

As extreme as Cylinthia’s experience has been, her and her sons are definitely not alone. According to a recent survey, there are three million children who are considered “missing” from school since COVID 19 hit hard and mass online distance learning began. A large percentage are believed to be homeless.

Darlene Newsome has spent the last three decades running a shelter for the homeless. She knows the astronomical numbers are real, just from the increasing size of her own waiting list.

Darlene Newsom / CEO UMOM Emeritus
“Where are these families? Some of these families are on the street, some of these families are living in their car, some of these families are doubled and tripled up in different apartments, they are all over the place , so what happens to those children what happens to their learning?”

For Cylinthia, homeless or not, her boys will get an education.

“They need an education in this world , you can’t do anything without your education so I am very strict on that no matter homeless, hungry anything. They go to school.”
But she also knows other families who are part of the three million missing children.

“I know a few people from different areas and neighborhoods, that I grew up with uh the parents didn’t even try, they didn’t care 10:00 enough to put their kids in school and make the effort to have them go to school.”

In addition to not getting an education, with schools closed, Newsom is also worried about the general care of homeless children.

“Now we have less eyes on children, they identify through the homeless liaisons through the teachers those kids who are coming to school that need additional, they don’t’ have hygiene they are coming in the same clothes, they don’t have their lunches, they don’t have their supplies and so they easily are able to identify who these children are, especially those children who are living on the street. “We need to open our schools back up.”

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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Cylinthia Culver / Homeless Mother
Darlene Newsom / CEO of a Homeless Shelter

100,000 Students Make Seamless Transition to Virtual Classrooms

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The Covid-19 shutdown of schools nationwide had many educators and school districts scrambling to come up with a plan B. A small virtual academy exploded practically overnight, absorbing more than 100,000 children and rescuing the school year for families across the nation. See how they accomplished this amazing feat! Kim Martinez reports.

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Good morning boys and girls let me see 2 thumbs up, let me see those thumbs.

Dr. Antonio Roca / Academica Virtual Education

“I could have never imagined, if you would have asked me 6 months ago that we would have moved 100,000 plus students online overnight or over a weekend.”

“Thank you Mia, Thank you Sky, Amaya, Danielle”

Amid the Covid-19 chaos, Doctor Antonio Roca who was running a much smaller online program for Academica Charter schools jumped into action getting 5,000 teachers in place and trained to host virtual classrooms.

“10 states, 200 schools, 100,000 students that attend Academica charter schools.”

The Academica charter school system had a nearly perfect response to the crisis, rescuing the school year for their children.

“Schools were closed on Friday and Monday we opened for business online.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“So was that for every one of your schools? You didn’t miss a day of school because of this?

“We did not miss a day of school.”

“Let me see your notes. Go ahead and show them to me in the camera, I want to see how you’re doing.”

“We actually went to live online instruction. And the students would report to class on Monday, with uniforms on,

“Look at you all, fantastic! Great Job!”

“Like they would if they were reporting to AP Biology first period, their AP Biology teacher was there waiting for them.”

“We still have 10 within the petri dish, what happened to species A? Species A thrived, like it kept on increasing. They thrived.”

So how did Academica accomplish all this practically overnight? They saw the writing on the wall and met the needs of their students in advance.

“We started in mid-Feb.. we began to see school closures in Europe the first thing we did, we sent out a survey to all of our families. Did they have internet at home, did they not have internet at home? Did they have devices?”

With many of their kids on the free and reduced lunch program, the schools had to get out thousands of devices to families in need, which they accomplished beautifully.

” We have many schools that are reporting 100 percent attendance.”

The students are getting a full days-worth of instruction, including SPED classes for children with special needs, and all the extra curriculum as well.

“We’re teaching art, we’re teaching music, physical education is part of what we’re doing online.”

“Some of the students might switch, some of the students going to a brick and mortar with now want to stay online, do you anticipate any of that happening?”

“I do think you can’t un-ring this bell. Now that they’ve been fully exposed at least to our model where you have live instruction occurring, I think will want to stay. Kim Martinez, Reporting.

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Dr. Antonio Roca / Academica Virtual Education @ 00:11

Kim Martinez Reporting @ 1:02

Becoming a Virtual Classroom-teacher

Suggested Anchor Intro:

Teachers nationwide have been dealing with the fallout from school closures and what they are finding differs from school to school. For one teacher, the transition from her regular classroom routine into the world of virtual education was both dramatic and amazingly successful. Kim Martinez reports.

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Royal Academy Palms / Miami, FL

“It’s almost like we didn’t skip a beat.”

An amazing claim from a Miami Florida teacher who found herself and her third graders switching to virtual classrooms over the course of a weekend.

Anais Millares / Teacher
“We found out after school had let out on a Friday that we weren’t coming back,
and that Monday we were already teaching online.”

As of that Monday morning, Anais Millares had no experience teaching online or running a virtual classroom.

“So basically we were trained in how to use the program, I had never even heard of the program Zoom before this, basically how to use how to use it securely where we have to admit the kids one by one in by their names so that we don’t just have random people coming in.”

“Initially you think oh my goodness this is going to be insane nobody’s going to log on, this is going to be crazy.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting

From a teacher’s perspective what was your thought on that quick action? A lot of families were scrambling at this point and you guys had your kids in class.”

“We had all the kids in class, my entire class was on that first Monday morning, they were all on.”

As Anais holds class each day now, virtually, she’s discovered that there are some advantages to online learning. Tests that are computer-graded, there’s no paperwork to keep track of, and the students always know exactly how they’re doing, all of this gives Anais more time to actually TEACH.

“Since you’re the person running the class, is it easier to manage the classroom as a whole?”

“So basically I use the mute button to make sure kids are able to hear me and hear the instruction I also use an app called “class dojo” where I am able to give them points for participation for good behavior for following the rules. We were taught how to share our screen, how to bring in links so the kids can go to those websites, how to show videos, how to use the whiteboard. It was learning from scratch basically.”

Anais knows there are many students in the country who have not had a smooth transition to online learning and she worries that many children are falling behind, which means teachers and their students have a long road ahead to get caught-up after schools re-open.

“If they were to miss all this time, they’re not going to be prepared to move on to the next grade level, and that is going to present a huge problem.”

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Royal Academy Palms / Miami, FL @ 00:00

Anais Millares / Teacher @ 00:13

Kim Martinez/ Reporting @ 00:48

School Administrator Discusses Virtual Successes & Fails

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With schools across the country switching to virtual classrooms and online learning, there are some significant take-aways for parents, teachers and students. This week, an educator who runs an online public school has some valuable insight, from both an educator and parent perspective, when it comes to distance learning dos and don’ts. Kim Martinez Reports.

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Denver Online High School / Denver, Colorado
Ian Jones has always been a firm believer in online learning, the Principal at Denver Online, he’s been at the forefront of virtual learning with his unique school.

Ian Jones / Principal Denver Online HS

“We serve about 270 students in both the online and the brick and mortar space”

Now with the brick and mortar space out of the picture Principal Jones has a new perspective on how to engage virtually with his students. He says his own kids have had both success and struggles online.

“Where you have 25 kids in a live session for two hours a day, what I am finding is my my fourth grader is really engaging with that, whereas my middle school child who for the first couple of weeks didn’t have those opportunities for live learning or connection with peers, what I noticed from him is he felt really disconnected from the learning environment. The schools who focused on the social emotional learning first are the ones who are seeing the engagement success now. The schools that posted up a bunch of assignments and had very little activities where students could interact with each other, I think that those schools are now having to backtrack and re-engage.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“There really has been a learning curve for everyone, even online educators such as yourself what do you think parents are discovering when it comes to distance learning?”

“I think that a lot of parents are going to recognize the personalization that can happen in this environment, when I’m a student in a traditional classroom, I have an audience of 30 and I may be reluctant to show my deficiencies if you will, whereas in this environment, a teacher is able to reach out and that conversation is really just one on one.”

Another positive high school kids are getting exposure to online classes, an experience they’ll need for college.

“I see a lot of college classes are really backed up by online learning environments and so for students to have this experience as a high school student really sets them up for higher levels of success. It’s a time for reflection I think, for everybody.”

Reflection and an opportunity to consider what many in education feel is the virtually the future.

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Denver Online High School / Denver, Colorado @ 00:01

Ian Jones / Principal Denver Online HS @ 00:17

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:28

Teachers Feed Community by School Buses

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If there was ever an example of why we recognize National Teacher Appreciation Week it’s this next story. For some students around the country, the COVID-19 shutdown has meant missing out on the consistent meals the school provides for that child. However, the educators from a small but mighty Louisiana school intervened on behalf of their students and families in their community. And as Kim Martinez reports, these classroom heroes are delivering hundreds of meals door-to-door daily, it’s “meals on wheels” by way of big yellow school bus.

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Food Distribution / Baton Rouge, LA
“It makes a huge impact , taking a weight off my shoulders.”

Vanessa Rivet / Mother

“At least I know that they’ll get breakfast and lunch.”

Vanessa Rivet, a Baton Rouge mother, has six children still living at home, and for her, their school’s decision to distribute food to families, has been a lifesaver. She’s not alone. 100 percent of the students at Democracy Prep qualify for free and reduced lunch. When schools closed, making sure they were still getting meals became a top priority for the teachers and educators. Shana Tidwell and Maurice Vance helped launch the program.

Shana Tidwell / Manager Special Education

“I think food was like uh, yep we are going to provide food, check 10:30 Done ! Like it was just a given.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“What has the response been from the community, when your buses come through and start dropping off meals for people?”

Maurice Vance / Dean of Culture
“A lot of families are like you guys don’t have to be doing it and you are still doing it and we thank you for it. And even people that we pass by that don’t even want a meal, they say you guys are doing a great thing.”

What began with two buses dropping off meals to the school’s families, grew to 3 buses feeding around 400 people in the community.

“It’s not drop-off spots that you guys are utilizing it’s actually taking the meals door to door to specific houses?”

“It’s more personable instead of like saying, hey meet us here, that’s building another problem that parents and families may not have. So we are really doing this for the people that don’t have the means to get there and who’s afraid.”

For Vanessa and her family it’s a kindness that makes a huge difference.

“They are still able see somebody that they’re familiar with and to do that they are thinking about them because they wait.”

The heartwarming actions of these educators, who have become teachers, for the not only their community but the entire nation, on how to care for each other. Their lesson to us all, find a need, in this case empty stomachs, and fill it with kindness. Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Food Distribution / Baton Rouge @ 00:01

Vanessa Rivet / Mother @ 00:06

Shana Tidwell / Manager Special Education @00:35

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:43

Maurice Vance / Dean of Culture @00:53

City Run Micro-School

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As school districts across the country struggle to educate kids amid COVID-19, one city decided it was up to them to meet the needs of their students. As a result, a unique micro-school was created giving children in jeopardy of slipping through the cracks due to distance learning, a physical place to go to school. Kim Martinez reports.

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Ryann Juden / City Manager North Las Vegas

“Literally in a few days a school was born.”

City Manager, Ryann Juden, says the idea for his city’s micro-school was born out of the need to solve a massive problem as COVID school closures threatened to hinder the education of a large number of students who live in the city of North Las Vegas.

“The digital divide in North Las Vegas is somewhere around 30 to 40 percent.”

Those concerning numbers are different than an online parent survey from the State’s school system which reported that only 5 percent of kids were in peril of tech issue that would make online learning from home a big struggle. City leaders wisely questioned those results.

“We thought that it was kind of a problematic to do an online survey to identify how many of those people are not online.”

City leaders knew it was up to them to find an alternative versus the state’s expectations that all kids could successfully switch to full online learning at their homes. So they started their city-run micro-school called  SNUMA, Southern Nevada Urban Micro Academy.

Pamela Goynes Brown / City of North Las Vegas Councilwoman

“The concept is to have a curriculum it’s a computer based curriculum, where a child comes in and they are assessed and whatever level they are is where they start.”

Set up at various city libraries and centers the kids have a place to come again. There’s plenty of computers, reliable wifi, and no more than 18 in a class. All overseen by “learning guides”.

Flor Espinoza / Mother

“I would describe it as homeschooling outside of home with a guide. Somebody that could really drive the learning for each student.”

Flor Espinoza who has two students at the micro-school says focus on communication and technology, is what she loves the most. And Cherise Coleman, an essential worker, adds that overseeing her kids education from home, was tough.

Cherise Coleman / Mother

”I’m a single mom with two kids so that part  was hectic trying to get two kids at home online. And every teacher used different programs to turn in different lessons, then the internet issues at home, like one child would kick another child off the internet.”

Now with the micro-school, she’s found a vast improvement not just in the emotional toll, but academics as well.

“So here they were actually able to tackle the things she wasn’t really proficient in, go back to the basics.

Rhyan Pitts / 5th Grader

“I’m eager to get up every day and come here.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“Parents and students seem so excited about this model they tell us they plan on continuing here longterm, regardless of what happens with covid, so is micro-schooling going to play a big role when it comes to the future of education?”

“Given the environment I think that we have to evolve, and this is a great alternative and for our family it’s been a godsend really.”

Kim Martinez Reporting

Suggested Anchor Tag:

If you’d like to know more about the City of North Las Vegas micro-school program you can log onto NLVCares.com.

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Ryann Juden / City Manager for City of North Las Vegas @00:17

Pamela Goynes Brown / City of North Las Vegas Councilwoman  @01:02

Flor Espinoza / Mother @01:25

Cherise Coleman / Mother @01:46

Rhyan Pitts / 5th Grader @02:15

Kim Martinez / Reporting @02:19

Family Fitness

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While this undoubtedly is a tough time for families, there might just be a silver lining. Take it from a pro, there’s opportunity now unlike ever before for families to come together to get free. This major leaguer is offering his shape up courses for free in an act of generosity during a time when parents and children most need it.

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With the nation’s kids adjusting, some better than others, to at-home online learning platforms, what was their normal daily activity is now as different as their schooling.

Jeff Larish / Team DRC

“It becomes more challenging each day my kids are going crazy they’ve kind of had it, they’re restless.”

Former Major League Baseball player Jeff Larish and his wife Julia are family-fitness experts. They own DRC a strength training and sports performance gym. With 4 kids of their own, they say the COVID pandemic is really an opportunity to help parents across the country become family-focused on getting active and eating right.

“Ready make it into a ball.. turn it turn it.”

“In this time where everybody is talking about these death rates of COVID and how tragic it is, it is yes but when you look at heart disease which kills 1 person every 37 seconds , like why is nobody freaking out about this? And so if we can be part of that solution where you have all of these issues, heart disease, hypertension, blood pressure and all this other stuff, obesity, all that can be cured through activity.

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“What are your top tips for families to take that first step to get moving and to start eating right?”

” When it comes to working out and eating right, people know you have to do it but they don’t have a plan.”

To give parents a plan and a jumping off point, the Larish’s are offering free online access to their professional family-fitness programming. Just go to TeamDRC.com for their free content that’s All tested and kid approved.

“Push your head between your arms, two three.”

“Being so family oriented and having kids myself I see the impact it has when we’re able to teach these kids how to move and they’re able to get the confidence they’re able to do hard things and get through that and see the impact it can have not only physically but mentally as well.”

Physical and mental well-being during uncertain times, Jeff’s advice it to find ways to bring the whole family along on a fun fitness journey. Kim Martinez reporting.

Jeff Larish / DRC Strength Training @00:16

Kim Martinez Reporting @01:18

"Mr. Rogers" Emerges to Help Teach Kids During Covid

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With technology-based learning being the norm right now, a teacher name “Mr. Rogers” is embracing his namesake and cleverly reaching his students through education videos they can both watch and star in. He says the “Mr. Rogers” persona is just what kids need right now to show them that they’ve not been forgotten and they’re not alone.

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“Good Morning Mr. Rogers “, Good Morning Class how are we doing today?“

Austin Achieve Public School /Austin, Texas

Austin teacher Mark Rogers embraces his “Mr. Roger’s” persona as a way to entertain, comfort and keep his students feeling connected during the Covid-19 shutdown.

“The zero tells the 8, nice belt, ahahaha, that’s funny Zoe.”

He’s doing it with creative videos like this one, giving classmates a chance to see themselves and each other.

Mark Rogers / Teacher

“What kids are missing is the connection they had with their teacher and their friends in the classroom, so I’m bridging that gap by creating a classroom environment filled with pictures and videos.

“Welcome to science time, I’m your host, Mr. Rogers.”

While virtual class is offered, Mr. Rogers says the videos are important because not all students have equal access to a live virtal classroom. “Some of the kids only have the opportunities to see the videos in the morning or at night,

Stacy LaVallee / Parent

“He’s able to relate to the kids very in the videos that he does, it’s not just the lessons it’s more animated, it’s hey I know we’re doing this from home, but let’s do this as best as we can.”

This mom says her son is a big fan of Mr. Rogers which is a good thing as Michael will be with Mr. Rogers throughout the course of his K-12 schooling, thanks to a program known as looping.

“Looping is where you the teacher learn new content the next year, but keep the same students.That way you know exactly where they are academically, how to help them learn best.”

So looping allows him to move up with this class of students through high school as their math instructor.

“It’s almost like a, for Michael, a steady person, in his life. A steady person to grow up with, in a way almost like an Uncle”

A steady person, helping his students through the COVID-19 changes today, and ready to go the distance with his students tomorrow. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Austin Achieve Public School /Austin, Texas @ 00:01

Mark Rogers / Teacher @ 00:36

Stacy Lavallee / Parent @ 1:06

Shape Up Us - Free Family Access to Lesson Plans for Healthy Child

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A program that combines education and action as well as emotional well-being, may just be what parents are needing for their kids these days. Shape Up Us, a national non-profit that specializes in creative classroom curriculum is now giving parents the tools to help their child, mind, body and spirit. As Kim Martinez reports …ACCESS IS FREE for parents to give it a try!

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Shapeupus.org/Mind, Body, Emotion Curriculum

“I’m loving this Burrito.”

Vanessa Sgro / Mother
“I told her what we were going to do, we are going to make a business plan and she went at it .She thoroughly enjoyed it she made a burrito stand.”

Homeschool mom Vanessa Sgro is talking about the curriculum she found at Shape UP US. After using the lessons plans herself, she’s now pitching them to others.

But the Lesson plans work for a more traditional classroom as well, created to cover a variety of subjects and issues all related to a students’ emotional, physical and educational well-being.

There are eight different modules, including,

Meet Doctor Beat…

Take Down The Pressure…

And even one about money..

they come with lesson plans, worksheets and activities.

Kim Martinez / Reporting
Explain to us how your plan works.

Jyl Steinback / Shape Up Us
“So everything has an action behind the lesson and that’s what’s so nice we want to bring them back into the physical activity and now is the best time and keep that mental health strong. 14:50 as well as their bodies.”

Why did you decide to start shapeupus.org?

“When I was in fifth grade I actually flunked spelling, and that was devastating to me, because you are standing up and you had to go sit down, and I was the only one who had to sit down, so I just had a learning disorder that we didn’t know about when I was that age, so I wanted to come back with a curriculum that every child was successful and what does that look like? And so that was teaching them in all five senses so maybe I didn’t learn by listening to the teacher I learned by seeing it.”

With so many families looking for ways to keep their kids healthy and strong the company is offering several of its modules to parents for free right now on their website shape-up-us-dot-Org. Kim Martinez, Reporting.

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Shape Up Us/ Mind, Body, Emotion @. 00:01

Vanessa Sgro / Mother @ 00:06

Kim Martinez / Reporting @00:43

Jyl Steinback / Shape Up Us @ 00:45

Chinese Students Stranded by COVID-19

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While COVID-19 meant students across the country were relegated to learning from home, one group of teens literally wasn’t allowed to leave their school to go home. Many of the foreign exchange students at International Leadership School of Texas are stuck spending the summer at the boarding school. Kim Martinez reports.

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“One of the boys just paid 15,000 dollars for a one way flight back to China.”

International Leadership of Texas/ Dallas, Texas
Gary Manns is in a unique position to see a different kind of impact from COVID-19 shutdowns. He’s in charge of the health and well-being of Chinese boarding school students at the International Leadership of Texas school in Dallas.

Nearly 2-dozen students are spending their summer in dorm rooms at the Dallas campus instead of going home. Flights to China out of reach due to cost or government safety concerns.

“My airplane ticket got cancelled.”

All are trying to make the best of it. Including Kevin Jiao (Jow), who says not being able to get home this summer, means it’s been more than a year since he’s seen his family.

Kevin Jiao / Senior

“Besides studying I work out from time to time just do a little bit of exercising myself, and I entertaining from video games or tv shows or internet episodes something like that.”

“I mean I miss them, I do miss them I do miss my family.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“Would you say the biggest challenge is keeping their spirits up?”

Gary Manns/ Dir. of International Students IL Texas

“That is correct, we knew they were going to be in here, secluded and not be able to go outside, so my biggest thing is to get them out .”

While students can’t go off campus, organized events such as kickball games, barbecues, and even balloon fights have helped.

Also a boost, a graduation that family back home could see via social media.

“We had a great graduation in the Welcome Center, so I feel like that’s pretty to for me to say I got my diploma.”

And while Gary Manns does not expect an incoming of new Chinese students attending I-L in the Fall, he’s intent on taking care of those who are still here. Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Dallas International Leadership, Dallas Texas @ 00:07

Kevin Jiao / Senior @ 00:42

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:06

Gary Manns/ Dir. Of International Students IL Texas @ 1:10

Training Teens in "Essential Jobs" Amid C0VID & Racial Tensions

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Racial tensions and COVID-19, the double whammy that our country is facing is no doubt discouraging. But one school leader says career and technical schools give teens real-life exposure to the diversity they’ll find in the workplace after high school, as well as problem solving skills to tackle today’s complex environment. Kim Martinez reports.

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Dr. Chad Wilson / Superintendent EVIT

“You are going to be a student in one of our classrooms that has other students that don’t look like you, that don’t talk like you, that don’t come from the same socioeconomic community as you do and you are going to have to problem solve and team build and collaborate.”

EVIT / Mesa Arizona

It’s a perspective many might not have even considered before the recent racial unrest in our country, but as Doctor Chad Wilson, the superintendent of EVIT which is teaches career and technical education, points out, schools such as his, may be part of the solution.

“I just think also the opportunity to engage in what is the true America, I mean our neighborhood schools aren’t the true America, they’re the neighborhood schools, and they are made up of everybody from that neighborhood, but you come here and you are really working with the melting pot of what makes us who we are as a State and as a country.”

Plus successful vocational schools create big opportunities for their students. It’s a point emphasized by the COVID-19 situation.

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“The skilled labor gap has been an issue that we’ve been facing as a country for a while now, how do. You think the Covid situation is going to effect that? ”

“I would wager to say that the vast majority if not just but a handful of a few of our programs actually were deemed essential services by our country. I believe we can make a compelling argument that moving forward that not only can you come here and learn a skill that gives you a career that pays six figures but also a career that often times is always going to have employment.”

The switch to as much online instruction as possible for such a hands-on school was difficult, but their “never give up” American spirit has helped them re-think and re-invent their curriculum.

“I think education is in dire need of innovation, and I think this experience the past quarter has pushed us to look for solutions to problems that we probably never would have had the willingness or desire or time to really try to solve.”

“So in your opinion is there any going back now ? or so will you guys at EVIT always have some form of online platform for the students?”

“There are potentially ways in which we could deliver some of the content that’s necessary for students online on their own time, so that when they are here they are spending far more time actually doing the hands on then learning some of the content.”

Great educators evolving to meet students on whatever platform it takes to keep this younger generation learning and moving forward. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Dr. Chad Wilson / Superintendent EVIT. @ 00:13

EVIT / Mesa Arizona. @ 00:20

Kim Martinez / Reporting. @ 01:00

Schools in Peril Due to COVID-19

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While all schools have had to deal with massive challenges from COVID-19, many private schools serving low-income and minority children, may have to close their doors to their students permanently. Relying on state and federal scholarship money and the generosity of donors to stay afloat means they will most likely be the schools fatally hit by the pandemic. Kim Martinez reports.

PKG. Schools in Peril of Closing Due to COVID-19

Melissa Rego / Principal La Progressiva
“It’s just awesome to have so many kids that this is the first time, or they are the first in their family to go to graduate or to even go to college.”

La Progressiva, Miami, FL
Principal Melissa Rego has good reason to be proud of her graduation rate.”

“100%… yeah !!!!”

At her independent Presbyterian school serving mostly Hispanic students, it’s scholarships that bridge the funding gap for 99 percent of her students.

“I will tell you a lot of the kids that are going to private schools they are not the wealthy they are not the elite.”

And while La Progressiva will be alright next year, Melissa knows that as a result of Covid-19, some private school like hers serving low income and minority children have had to shut down and others face the possibility which would hurt those students from impoverished backgrounds who need high-quality schools the most.

“They need it in order to thrive and become successful and have a future.”

Programs such as that at Loyola Academy a Catholic school, also provide that opportunity for success to economically disadvantaged students.

“Private education seemed out of reach and college was a dream. Before we walked into those doors, society told us that we would become another statistic and that we simply wouldn’t be good enough. That is definitely not the case today.”

But now, many worry that nationwide these opportunities will simply disappear with the schools who couldn’t financially survive Covid 19.

Fr. Thomas Reese SJ/ Senior Analyst Religion News Service
“Schools are sending out announcements saying you know, “are we going to be open in September or are we not ? And a lot of them are saying, we don’t know.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“What happens to the kids, you know the low income kids the minority kids any kids that are facing disadvantages, what happens to them if their local private school that they are going to closes that they’ve been attending?

“If the schools in their neighborhood are pretty bad and have very limited online education, they’re going to suffer.

While La Progressiva and the Loyola Academy remain on stable ground for the coming school year, There are private and independent Schools who are standing in quick sand.

“The hope is that Government will wake up and realize what a great contribution this is to education. The fear is, “oh well this is just going to support rich kids in these schools, hey, it’s easy to target money for poor kids.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

FONTS:

Melissa Rego / Principal @ 00:07

La Progressiva School /Miami, FL 00:15

Fr. Thomas Reese SJ / Senior Analyst, Religion News Service @ 1:35

Kim Martinez / Reporting. @1:41

Student hits education "Bullseye" despite pandemic

Suggested Anchor Intro:

Just months ago, a high school senior from Statesville was on top of the world. But as for all of us, life changed in mid-March as a result of COVID-19. Despite an unexpected turn at the end of his senior year, he is more determined than ever to purse his education with the help of a unique college scholarship. Brian Jodice reports.

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Cornerstone Academy / Statesville, NC
In early March Keenan Cooper was celebrating a huge milestone. He sat in front of his classmates, friends and family at Corner Stone Academy in Statesville.

Renee Griffith, Principal , Cornerstone Academy
“Keenan is the first student in North Carolina to go to college on a scholastic archery program. He’s the first.”

And signed his scholarship letter to attend Emanuel College in the Fall.

Keenan Cooper / Senior
“It felt awesome I felt so, I felt speechless”

But immediately following that special day were uncertain days amid a global pandemic.

KC Cooper / Keenan’s Mom

“When the pandemic came it was like everything was put on pause, and he just started really digging into his work at home. For us to see him get up and get into his schoolwork, we didn’t have to wake him up. He knew and got into the pattern of doing it on his own.”

Cornerstone will hold special graduation this summer and then Keenan is off for college with the assurance of his new school.

“They are so excited, and we are too. And the last email we received was the Vice President saying we will see you in person in the Fall, so don’t worry about it.”

While it has not been your usual senior year, KC and Keenan are not letting that stop them from celebrating.

“But sadly, I am going to miss all the people who help me go through some obstacles, and it’s going to bring back memories. It’s just going to be a roller coaster for us, for me a heart tug but an exciting one for him.”

Brian Jodice, reporting.

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Corner Stone Academy / Statesville NC @ 00:01

Renee Griffith / Principal ,Cornerstone Academy@00:12

Keenan Cooper / Scholarship recipient@00:28

KC Cooper / Keenan’s Mom@ 00:43

Schools Face Financial Crisis from COVID-19

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First it was Hurricane Katrina, now Covid-19 is giving schools in New Orleans school a new challenge. Despite it all, plans are underway to reopen one private school, but with the whole country suffering, the school is finding the outpouring of support they experienced after the hurricane just isn’t the same. Monica Pierre reports.

PKG.

Hurricane Katrina/ New Orleans, LA 2005

“Katrina was isolated to New Orleans and the coastal area, so the rest of the country could rally around you and provide resources, financial resources, people coming to volunteer.

Thomas Moran, Jr./President, CEO
That infusion could come down and take place.There’s no infusion of that anywhere. The rest of the country has the same needs we have here.

The Good Shepherd School/New Orleans, LA
Private schools like Good Shepherd weathered Katrina. CEO and president, Thomas Moran says his school is planning and preparing to open this fall under three different scenarios.

“All virtual. Some combination of virtual, and all in-person. But they all bring different and added expenses that were not going to be in your regular budget, but now you have to supply technology to everybody, or your building cleaning requirements are certainly going to be more costly now. You may need a mask on everyone so, we will provide access to the masks as well. Every day is a new moving target and it’s something that is adding an expense to the bottom line.”

There’s a possibility of a second round of CARES Act dollars to help with the bottom line. Schools like Good Shepherd hope Congress provides direct funding to non-public schools to handle mounting COVID-19 costs.

“Anytime you can remove a couple of layers and give things directly to an entity—with accountability—everybody needs to have accountability on how they spend those dollars. But the sooner it gets into the hands of an entity, the more it can have impact.”

Another challenge for private schools… coming up with ways to fundraise.

“Anybody can tell you that they can predict that future, is not telling you the truth. We have no idea what’s around the bend.”

Although many challenges remain, Moran says the bond between family and school remains strong.

“Scared may be the wrong word, but a lot of our families are scared of what the future holds and school has always giving them a sense of an anchor in their lives. A sense of stability in their lives. Schools need to be able to provide that.”

Monica Pierre, reporting

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New Orleans, Louisiana @00:01

Thomas Moran, Jr./ President, CEO Good Shepherd @00:09

The Good Shepherd School / New Orleans, LA @00:23

8-Year-Old Writes Book About Disabled Brother

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Extraordinary Students come in all shapes, sizes and ages, as does what inspires their dreams. For one young author, it’s her little brother who has severe disabilities who inspired her to write a must-read book! Kim Martinez reports.

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Coralyn Weeks / Author
‘My name is Coralyn and I have a younger brother, his name is Rikson, he’s unlike any other.

Eight-year-old author Coralyn Weeks, is hoping the book she wrote called “Just Figure Out A Way,” will help change minds and hearts about how we look at those living with disabilities.

Just Figure Out A Way / Tucson, AZ

Her seven-year-old brother Rikson, has cerebral palsy and other serious medical conditions. Coralyn describes the good and bad of being Rikson in her book.

“In his belly is a button, and a tube, that’s used for feeding. Although he doesn’t eat like me, good food still makes him happy. He may not get the joy of taste, I guess that’s kind of crappy.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting
Rikson has some challenges, do you want to tell us about those challenges and what inspired you to write about his differences?

“I wanted to write because everybody would say different kinds of stuff, mean things about him.”

Emily Weeks / Coralyn’s mother
“We dealt with a lot of bullying. Cora got very upset one time in public and responded to someone,I had to tell Coralyn that people aren’t going to receive that in that moment, and you have to find a better way to just educate and show them and help them understand.”

That better way turned out to be her book which carries the powerful message that Rikson, and all kids who faces challenges, can Just figure out a way.

“Was fitted for a wheelchair when only two-years-old. The doctor said he’d never walk just sit there we were told. We ordered him a gait trainer and soon a miracle occurred.”

Rikson and Coralyn even figured out how to run races together proving to each other and the world that where there’s a will, there’s always a way.
That includes, Coralyn, who through homeschooling is overcoming her own difficulties!

“We were told that she was at risk for illiteracy and incapable of learning.It has been a year, one full school year and she wrote a book.”

A book on sale right now on Amazon that everyone should buy, read and share, “Just Figure Out a Way.” Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Coralyn Weeks / Author @ 00:06

Kim Martinez / Reporting@ 00:56

Emily Weeks / Coralyn’s Mother @ 1:14

Newark Cristo Rey Closing

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Schools nationwide are feeling the financial impact of COVID-19. While some are struggling to stay open, others have already had to close down. Cristo Rey Newark is one such school. Their closure is hitting the community and country especially hard because the school is known for providing amazing opportunities to Black and Hispanic low-income students. Kim Martinez reports.

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“Harold Dante Anderson”

Just weeks after celebrating another outstanding graduating class of Black and Hispanic seniors from New Jersey’s Cristo Rey Newark Catholic High School, it became apparent that the school couldn’t survive the economic hit from COVID-19, soon followed a tough decision to close this school permanently.

Elizabeth Goettl / President & CEO Cristo Rey Network
“When you take a school that is already somewhat financially fragile and layer on a pandemic, there are huge challenges.”

“I’m heartbroken.”

Jackie Ross has worked at Cristo Rey Newark for the last 9 years and describes the school as a miracle-maker.

“It is a solution to poverty.”

There are 37 Cristo Rey schools across the country serving 12,000 minority students with a unique model. Low-income high schoolers are given professional jobs one day a week as paid interns. The money the teens earn helps pay their own tuition to the private catholic school. Over the last 25 years, this education model has proven to work wonders.

Jacqueline Ross / V.P. of Advancement Cristo Rey Newark
“We have students that have become assistant district attorneys in NY city who have gone to Princeton on a full ride.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting
It sounds like we should be replicating these schools, expanding the Cristo Rey schools because they are serving this population of kids that is so incredibly high risk.

“If we want to put our money where our mouth is as far as Black Lives Matter, dealing with racial disparities, income disparities, we need to be committed to a model like the Cristo Rey model.”

With one Cristo Rey school gone, the big question becomes, will we allow more of these schools to fall? Or will corporate America and the rest of our nation prioritize this proven method of getting Black and Hispanic teens on a professional path?

“As you look at corporations all across America, there are companies that are saying you know we should do something at our company about this race issue, what should we do? And we say look here’s a tailor-made program, these are young people you can develop.”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Elizabeth Goettl / President & CEO Cristo Rey Network @ 00:25

Jacqueline Ross / V.P. of Advancement Cristo Rey Newark. @ 01:09

Kim Martinez / Reporting. @ 01:21

Online Education Experts Prepping for Increase

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With schools across the country trying to figure out what they will do when classes are slated to resume, one group of educators is bracing for what could be a huge increase in enrollment. Schools that have specialized in virtual learning for years know that online education is the route many parents and students will want to take.

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“I think the world is going to be very different come this fall.”

Gary Arnold is the Superintendent of ischool Virtual Academy of Texas- an online school based in Dallas. An expert in the field, Arnold says he understands that parents have a weighty decision to make, brick and mortar versus online school.

Gary Arnold / iSchool Virtual Academy Superintendent
“I want students to do the right thing that’s for them.”

“Am I prepared for an increase? Yes. Do I think we’ll have an increase? Yes. Can I predict the magnitude of that? No.”

A recent poll published in USA Today indicates 60 percent of parents would be likely to pursue in home learning and another poll indicates at least 51 percent are very to extremely concerned about sending their child back to school in the fall.

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“So how do you prepare for the possibility that there could be this surge of students wanting to attend an online school like yours?”

“We are planning for an increase, we are looking at our staffing levels now, we are looking at the courses we are offering, we are looking our start dates so we can keep the normalcy out there as best we can.”

While trying to keep some normalcy in line with traditional schools, it’s also important to help new students find their unique stride in the world of virtual learning.

Tammany Olson – Campus Director iSchool Virtual Academy of Texas
“One thing that’s really cool about our program is we do not hold kids back, so in a regular you are going at the pace of the teacher, and you might be a very advanced student but you are still stuck going at the pace of the teacher. In our environment we’ve opened the floodgates. If you’ve got math and you’ve always loved math and you’re a wizard in math, we’re not going to say you have to be on chapter two because that’s where Ms. Wilson is.”

Although there are many positives to virtual learning, even online experts say it will only work long-term for some students.

“It’s those that are independent that are motivated that still have that parent or guardian support at home, that makes them the most successful.”

As we head into an unprecedented and unpredictable new school year, the work of our nation’s professional online educators is more relevant than ever before.

“If you want to take a negative situation of like a Covid-19, a positive for us is it has brought new light to this area as an option for students.”

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Gary Arnold / iSchool Virtual Academy Superintendent @ 00:20

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:49

Tammany Olson / Campus Director iSchool Virtual Academy of Texas @ 1:19

Online Curriculum Is Lifeline for Youngest Learners

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The youngest learners may struggle the most when it comes to online learning so a Florida based company, DOC Learning Solutions, stepped in immediately when elementary schools were caught off guard by COVID-19 at the end of last school year. They helped hundreds of brick and mortar schools go virtual with their engaging free curriculum designed for Pre K through second graders. Now, the unique platform is busier than ever as the new year school gets underway. Kim Martinez reports.

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Luciano Musella / DOC Learning
“When COVID 19 hit we already had some bare bones that our private schools were using and we decided to try to help our community here in Broward County and South Florida at large by giving it to them for free.”

BB International/Palm Beach,FL
Today, Luciano Musella works as a team leader for the DOC Learning platform which provides crucial online curriculum, but he originally comes from a high-performing Florida private school called BB International. It was at his old school that Musella and his teachers first started working with DOC Learning. Now during the Covid school closures, DOC Learning is saving the day for schools that have little to no online curriculum to work with.

“We saw immediately that the 5 schools we had piloted this year began using it by April, in this way during COVID-19 and we realized hey, we could probably help a bunch of schools out if we gave this to everyone.”

200 schools have taken them up on the generous offer to help launch their students into the virtual world. DOC Learning is an innovative approach that covers all the basic subjects online, but the student’s actual teachers are involved every step of the way.

“What colors did you use? Que Colores ?”

When the students are able to go back to class, because they’ve been with their teachers all along, the transitions will be easier.

Megan Vander Horst/ Curriculum Director BBI
“We would start by recording a teacher in the morning, giving a brief morning message, morning introduction and then there was also an option on there where I would record a read aloud for the students to listen to and there were questions, and respond to certain questions throughout the story, before, during and after, and then the teachers were able to get on the platform and walk the students through each lesson for the day to day.”

Another component of the Doc Learning program is it provides a great platform to keep teachers and parents connected.

“The parents are loving it and they are able to upload pictures of their students working on a curriculum at home and the students at home are able to see the students that are here at school.”

“That’s where we found our greatest success really highlighting that community engagement between the teacher and the family.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

FONTS:

Luciano Musella / DOC Learning / Pre-K through 2nd Grade Curriculum @ 00:06

BB International / Palm Beach, Florida @ 00:16

Megan Vander Horst / Curriculum Director BBI @ 01:14

Pandemic Homeschoolers Learn Science with Surf & Skate Class

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A program for Homeschoolers has just gotten underway again for students in South Florida. The area has seen a huge increase in homeschooling since the pandemic. The need for outside options for these students prompted one homeschooling couple to combine academics with action-sports and create Surf Skate Science. A combination of education, fun and socialization all in one class. Kim Martinez reports.
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Toni Frallicciardi/ Founder Surf Skate Science
“Surf skate science exist to bring science to life through skateboarding and surfing to kids in third through tenth grade. “
Surf Skate Science/ South Miami, FL
Toni Frallicciardi (Frah-litch-e-ardi) and her husband Uli (You-Lee)created one of the coolest science curriculums around, a Surf Skate Science program in South Florida, combining their passion for action sports with education.
“We’ve always been passionate about surfing and skateboarding. Several years ago we started a science class for our son who was homeschooled at the time. Our idea was to take something we loved and teach science through it.
With the pandemic there’s a lot of new families that are homeschooling.”
In Broward, Palm Beach and Miami Dade Counties there are 30 percent more homeschoolers according to the latest census, with even more staying home because of the pandemic. Surf-Skate-Science classes are designed to show kids how we can physically experience the principles of science and math in many of our favorite activities.
“We offer weekly classes to the community for kids to learn about science technology engineering arts and math.
Basically we let the skate parks and oceans be their lab.”
“Alright Surf Skate Science, what’s happening ? This is Uli”
The couple believes strongly that if you can tie these tougher subjects to a kids passion, they’ll be motivated to learn. Uli himself was able to take his love of skating and turn that into a better understanding of mathematics and physics.
Uli Frallicciardi /Surf Skate Science
“I was that kid that really didn’t get math, but when I was passionate about something I was building this ramp and it had to be perfect, I realized that math was so important.”
“Our goal is to get kids interested in science and technology. With action sports there’s already a ton of science involved. Skateboarding without physics wouldn’t happen.”
Mina Rucker / Student
“We don’t just go and sit at a desk and do our work, it’s like recess and school mixed together at the beach or a skate park, which I really enjoy.”
Valentina Malofiy / Mother
“This is our first year homeschooling, it has been quite a journey and with Covid it was really important that she wasn’t feeling isolated. This has been a great way to meet new friends, get outside and to learn.”
These unique educators are skating into the hearts and minds of kids as well as riding the waves of covid ups and downs.
“The pandemic has force us to think outside the box. but we are excited for surf skate science to keep people evolving to meet the needs of the community.”
Kim Martinez reporting.
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Toni Frallicciardi/ Founder Surf Skate Science @ 00:01
Surf Skate Science/ South Miami, FL. @ 00:05
Uli Frallicciardi /Surf Skate Science @ 1:23
Mina Rucker / Student @ 1:44
Valentina Malofiy / Mother @ 1:57

School for the Homeless Reopens Amid COVID Concerns

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While most schools are starting the year with distance learning, a school for homeless children is bucking the “new normal” by getting back in the classroom for full in-person instruction. For these youngsters who rely on the physical, mental and emotional support their school offers, their classrooms are simply too essential to remain closed. Kim Martinez reports

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Positive Tomorrows School / Oklahoma City, OK

“We’ve just spread out through the whole building.”

This is what the new COVID era classroom looks like. School has officially started in-person at Positive Tomorrows a school for homeless children in Oklahoma.

“We’ll be serving meals in there, they’ll have lunch in there. You know you have to sanitize everything in between.”

Relieved that school has finally resumed, 6-year-old Jy’den Gray’s mom says this place has been their one and only lifeline for the last two years.

Liana Alvarez / Positive Tomorrows Mom
“They’re all like that we have here.”

With the school’s help they got back on their feet, found housing, Jy’den got caught up in school, and Liana found a full time job. Then COVID hit.

Susan Agel / Positive Tomorrows
“When the schools were instructed to shut down, just in addition to the impact on the education for the children, it also caused all kinds of issues regarding other things that schools provide, primarily food.”

It’s a bold move to teach face-to-face, according to a recent survey 71 of the nation’s 120 largest districts are going all virtual to start the school year.

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“So why take on the risk? All of these other schools are starting on line, why not just do the same with your families?”

“They get left behind when you do the virtual learning piece, because they don’t have computers, they don’t have internet access, parents aren’t computer literate.”

Since Positive Tomorrows is not part of the public school system, they rely solely on donors, at the moment an unpredictable source of funding.

“I would really hate to have to close things down or start turning kids away.”

But she recently received word that pandemic emergency funding would be extended to private schools. That could mean a $6,500 scholarship for every Positive Tomorrows student.

“Just to speak directly to Governor Stitt, I’m really pleased with the GEER funds that he’s granted to private schools, thank you so much for that.”

With a little financial help and a whole lot of courage,

“Give yourself a pat on the back.”

A self-soothing pat on the back might be the most appropriate launch to this new school year.

“You guys are so smart!”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

Positive Tomorrows School / Oklahoma City, OK @ 00:01

Liana Alvarez / Positive Tomorrows Mom @ 00:32

Susan Agel / School President & CEO @ 00:47

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 01:16

Million Dollar Man

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Classes are resuming at most colleges around the country and at one, there is a student whose competitive spirit and determination resulted in his getting dozens of scholarship offers. In fact, his former high school teachers and friends, jokingly refer to him as the “Million Dollar Man”. Kim Martinez reports on just what makes this remarkable student tick.
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There’s a much bigger story behind Jadius (jay-dis) McGhee’s Facebook post, a story of unbelievable accomplishment, competition and brotherly love! Here’s what happened in the words of his older brother Daeton.
Daeton McGhee / Junior at University Wisconsin Green Bay
“When he entered his senior year, we started off competing he said, hey Bro, I’m gonna get more money and more college acceptances that you. “
The brothers grew up in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Loving and competitive … they both attended Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy.
Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy / Milwaukee, WI
The excitement you see here is at one of the college signing day events, where the student body of mostly minority and lower income kids get to cut lose and celebrate getting into College.
Jadius had so much to celebrate he’s been nicknamed the Million Dollar Man.
“I was like alright go ahead and do it, I want to see you do it… and he did it… so I’m proud of him.
No small accomplishment – JD managed to receive 1 point 6 million dollars scholarship offerings and was accepted to 45 different Colleges and Universities. He picked up the nick name million dollar man, and chose the college he’d been dreaming of.
Jadius McGhee/ Student Jay dis Ma-ghee
“The university of Wisconsin Madison, they actually offered me a full ride.”
So where did his drive and motivation come from? He took a rough break, a knee injury which sidelined a potential future basketball career, and he turned himself into a million dollar student instead.
“At first I was just doing enough just to make sure I would be eligible to play..
and nce that knee injury happened, it was like a self-reflection, myself saying like, ok if that’s out the picture,now, like you can’t play basketball what else can you do ? “
Turns out academics are his real future, thanks to his hard work, his older brother’s encouragement, and the staff at Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy.
Judith Parker / Principal, Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy
“What works here is that we hire adults who are 100 percent committed to mentoring students and guiding them through learning guiding them through teenage difficulties guiding them through all kinds of situations. That mentorship makes a difference.”
And when it comes to advice, JD has some of his own for fellow scholars…
“If you stay in that system where I said, like where you gotta get this done, this done, this done, then it just really becomes a natural habit for you to stay in that mindset.”
A mindset with a big payoff. Kim Martinez reporting.
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Daeton McGhee / Junior at University Wisconsin GreenBay @ 00:13
Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy/Milwaukee, WI @ 00:29
Jadius McGhee/ Student @ 01:31
Judith Parker / Principal, Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy @ 1:48

POD Shaming - Parents React to Critics

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Frustrated parents are having to get creative to ensure their children are not falling behind due to COVID school closures and the challenges of unsupervised online learning. An increasingly popular solution is what’s called a Learning POD, basically gathering a small group of students together and paying someone to oversee their schoolwork. But as Kim Martinez reports, the pod parents are facing some interesting criticism.

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Call it “Pod Shaming” if you will. This opinion piece in the New York Times is one of many examples highlighting the dilemma of Pandemic Learning Pods. Pod families are getting shamed for hiring professional educators to oversee virtual learning or privately teach their children.

Nina Simmons / Mother

“My husband and I both work full-time and so there was no child care options.”
Nina Simmons says when the Covid school closures happened last spring, their backs were against a wall.
“It was a struggle to try and figure out how to balance working from home. A lot of people were losing their jobs, so you want to be very present at your job.”
They pooled resources with another family and started a pod.

“We’ve hired somebody to help us facilitate the lessons that the district is going to provide us with.”

Tera Myers / Mother

“It didn’t surprise me that this was something that was going to come down especially as the Covid lockdown and the questionability of the school’s drug on and drug on.”

Mansfield, Ohio

It didn’t take a pandemic for Tera Myers to create a learning pod. She started one years ago, when her son Sam who has Down Syndrome wasn’t receiving what he needed at his neighborhood school.

“If it’s not working, we alter course and people I found that, some people just resist change.”
The pandemic pod families have met resistance. Even being called privileged and elitists by some.
“I do worry about those in the community that they don’t have these resources, but you also want to help your child.”
A 34-year veteran teacher says she understands why some families would start a pod.

Connie Genrich / Teacher

“If I was one-on-one on Face time with younger kids, maybe for only a half an hour, they would hang up on me and they would take a break when you know it wasn’t recess or lunch time.”

She says she supports the idea of PODs because of the in-person supervision.
“I think you can do all ages in a pod, but you do need somebody that is qualified to watch over them, and make sure that they are learning it.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“Should parents feel guilty about starting PODS? Should they feel guilty about doing what’s best for their kid? And how much should they be thinking about all the other kids out there?”

“Of course, I don’t think parents should feel guilty about it. I can say that as a parent that did this myself, yes, I felt guilty. “
As one of the original POD parents, Tera’s best advice is to lose the guilt but also find ways to be inclusive.
“I think if each one of us takes care of ours and then plus one.”

Kim Martinez, Reporting

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Nina Simmons / Mother @00:20
Tera Myers / Mother @00:47
Mansfield, Ohio @00:57
Connie Genrich / Teacher @1:35
Kim Martinez / Reporting @1:57

Autistic Students Suffer From School Closures

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A great deal of attention has been paid to the typical student as the nation responds to education issues during the pandemic. But there are more than 7 million special education students nationwide and for those students and their families school closures may be even more difficult than anyone could have imagined.

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O.Robin Sweet / Director Gateway Academy

“We are noticing a significant regression in a majority of the kids”.”

Robin Sweet the director of Gateway Academy says it takes years to help children with autism develop crucial social skills but that progress is slipping every day her students are out of school.

Hannah Vasquez – Gateway Junior

“I’ll eat lunch with them, and we’ll just kind of sit around the table and talk and like tell each other jokes and stories”.

Hannah Vasquez is remembering what it was like when she used to spend her breaks socializing with other students at Gateway.

Now forced into distance learning because of COVID, those interactions aren’t happening anymore. The staff is seeing a scary impact.

O. Robin Sweet / Director Gateway Academy

“When we talk to them now we go oh my god, what happened ? He’s doing self-talk, and hiding in the corner, under the desk and now doesn’t want to get on the screen, it’s very frustrating.”

While most parents may worry more about the academic losses during this time, for students with autism, no longer having an in-person social outlet is detrimental.

Erin Garrett / Hannah’s Mom

“I think as much social interaction that these children can have really has a direct impact on their adult life.”

“Isolation is the kiss of death.”

“Our students need more than just academics, our counselor is working with the individual students that are really struggling.”

“It’s brutal for the parents too, because it’s not easy to teach our students because they require a tremendous amount of re-direction, and keeping on task also they ask very, very high intellectual questions.”

It’s the schools across the country like Gateway who specialize in teaching children with special needs, who may be the most anxious knowing that their students are suffering more and more every day.

“Back on campus is the best thing that could happen to all of us.”


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Gateway Academy, Phoenix, AZ / February 2020 @ 00:04

O. Robin Sweet / Director Gateway Academy @00:19

Hannah Vasquez – Gateway Junior @00:40

Erin Garrett / Hannah’s Mom @1:08

Special Needs School Re-Opens

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When it comes to distance learning, not all students are created equal. In fact, for many of those with special needs, the virtual classroom doesn’t work at all. For one academy that serves special needs children, online learning was enough of a concern that the school had no choice but to re-open their doors. Kim Martinez reports.

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“She’s actually quite more scared than I thought going back to school.”

Karen Fancher is talking about her 8-year-old daughter, Lily, who has special needs. Her school is one of the few who decided to re-open amid the pandemic, here’s why.

Ava White / Academy of Innovation
“Our kids are vulnerable learners and you put them in situations where they are not able to get what they need you are going to lose ground.”

Academy of Innovation / Gainesville, GA
Ava White, Director of Academy of Innovation, decided that these students who run the gamut from mild to moderate learning disabilities, autism, ADHD and dyslexia, would be brought back to class, but it wasn’t an easy decision.

“We are kind of having to build the plane as we are flying it.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“So what are the safety precautions and procedures you are doing at your school to ensure your students are safe?”

“There’s dots out there they stand on, they’re social distancing, a thousand-dollars I spent on dots, okay? And then they have somebody taking temps and then they get their mask, they have a special locker where they get their mask, and then they put their mask on, go upstairs and stand on more dots. And then we put them in classes.”

Lily’s mom says she’s grateful for the precautions, because she didn’t want her daughter to lose any more valuable time.

Karen Fancher / Lily’s Mom
“They lose it really quickly, they lose that with dyslexia, they lose it really quickly when they are out of school. Lily with dyslexia it’s much more difficult online. It’s a lot about understanding the words and the pronunciation of words they say and in person is the best.”

And Ava has some sobering advice for parents with special needs students who are unable to be back in the classroom.

“I would get them some tutoring. I would give them some one on one tutoring, because I feel like they are going to be missing and they need someone who will do a really good diagnostic work up on the child and then to do prescriptive lessons.They’re going to be lost, they are going to be absolutely lost.” Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Ava White / Academy of Innovation @ 00:07

Academy of Innovation / Gainesville, GA @ 00:24

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:40

Karen Fancher/ Lily’s Mom @ 00:13

College and Covid 19 - resources for the disadvantaged

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Making it to college means overcoming many hurdles for some students especially those who are economically disadvantaged. Now add COVID restrictions to all of their existing challenges. Thankfully the solution-based non-profit, College Bound, is successfully helping these young adults make it to college and start strong even in the COVID era.

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Christopher Hines/College Freshman
“It’s a big help. Like I couldn’t have done it without it, I like I couldn’t do anything without that laptop I use it every day.

Arizona State University/Tempe Arizona
In his first year at Arizona State University, Christopher Hines is especially thankful for his laptop which is the most crucial tool for a college student these days. Because of COVID, all of his classes are online. Christopher, along with dozens of other students who rely on scholarships and financial aid were given the laptops by College Bound, a group that works specifically to help deserving students get the opportunity to go to college.

Elizabeth Paulus / College Bound
“If you don’t have a camera, if you don’t have a well-functioning computer in COVID, you weren’t going to go to college.”

Computers aside, each year College Bound helps low-income students with a series of workshops to ensure they’re doing what it takes to get into college. Often they’re the first in their families to apply, so they need help navigating unchartered waters.

“Pretty much anything that student needs, We help them with their taxes, getting their financial aid together.”

In Christopher’s case he almost didn’t make it through admissions, he was missing one tax document, for a job he’d had while he was in foster care. He couldn’t get it because of Covid 19 slowdowns. One paper standing in the way of a full ride scholarship.

“They sat down like hours trying to get everything right so I could get here, I can’t thank them enough.”

“So here’s this kid who has had some tough breaks and we have one piece of paper between him and a 100-thousand dollar scholarship, one piece of paper.”

Thankfully College Bound was there to intervene and they got the paperwork.

“I’m going to tell you like, for myself, I don’t think if college bound wasn’t here I would go to college. I don’t think I’d be in college right now. I think I’d be working full time just to support myself and support my family, they gave me this amazing opportunity to go make something more.” Kim Martinez, reporting.

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If you’re interested in finding out more about College Bound AZ, visit www.collegeboundaz.org. College Bound AZ helps low income students throughout Arizona with college admissions.

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Christopher Hines / College Freshman @00:01
Arizona State University / Tempe, Arizona @00:08
Elizabeth Paulus / College Bound @00:33

CareVillage - Learning Pods

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With parents nationwide struggling to meet the needs of their children and work responsibilities during COVID, a former Uber Executive has hit upon an innovative solution that’s sweeping major cities. The old saying “It takes a Village” is his teams inspiration for creating an online platform where families can make crucial connections with one another. All have the mutual goal of learning, playing and surviving the pandemic together by joining community pods. Kim Martinez reports.

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The comments are all over social media. As many U.S. schools remain closed to in-person learning due to COVID, millions of families are scrambling for solutions. Many are starting pod schools where small groups of neighborhood children learn together.

SanFrancisco, CA
“Families going through this together has got to be better than them going through it independently.”

With that thought Michael Beckman formerly of UBER and his wife Eline van der Gaast, who also works in tech in the San Francisco bay area, set out to help organize and connect families looking for pod opportunities. Along with their co-founder, they came up with carevillage.us.

Michael Beckman/ Co-Founder CareVillage
“We just put our heads down and started building, and building technology that enables families to find the best matches for them, for what we call care pods.That’s the best analogy for what we’re doing today is match.com for families for pods.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“You have a huddle pod a play pod a sitter pod, a nanny pod a school pod a share pod, a shop pod, What are these things?”

“School pod is what you would guess from the name 2-4 children, that are often in the same class, most often following a curriculum provided by their school.”

“Huddle pod is two or three families huddling together, the main difference is you’re not looking to hire a caregiver you’re just trading off.”

“Play pods is a lot of parents said to us, uh we’re really worried about the socialization of our children and building social skills during COVID.”

“You can search by age of children, you can search by type of care pod, by distance and then when you find someone that may be a good match, you can send a connect request.”

Washington, D.C
Working mother Vassilissa Kozoulina used CareVillage to meet a nearby family in her Washington D.C. neighborhood. Today they have a school pod set up where they split the cost of a tutor.

Vassilissa Kozoulina / Mother
“It’s been a really good experience, very easy and transparent to use.”

Launching in the middle of COVID means extra safety precautions for the families looking for a match.

“We ask them just a simple on a scale of 1-5 how seriously are you taking the prevention of COVID?

If you’re a 5 you want to match with a 5 and if you’re a 2, you want to match with a 2.”

In a grand neighborly gesture, Michael and his co-founders are offering their tech passion project free of charge in the hopes of building a national care village that will eventually evolve into a sort of LinkedIn, connecting parents and with their perfect neighborhood pods.

“It takes a Carevillage to raise a child, start building yours today.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

Suggested Anchor Tag:

Michael and team say no matter how big CareVillage.us grows, they will always offer the basic matching service to families for free.

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00:16 Michael Beckman / Co-Founder of CareVillage.us

00:20 San Francisco, CA

01:38 Washington D.C.

01:50 Vassilissa Kozoulina / Uses CareVillage.us

Educators' Co-op Helps Teachers Get Through Covid Together

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Working virtually with dozens of new platforms means teachers are facing some big challenges. These days, it may feel like a whole new world for many educators, which is why an Educators Co-op that began small is now gaining nationwide interest during COVID. The co-op has created a virtual place for teachers to share information, online learning techniques, and give one another much needed emotional support. Kim Martinez reports.

PKG.

Greg O’Loughlin / Founder Educators Co-op
“It’s almost as though we are teaching on the moon all of a sudden and just said, “you are going to have a lot of questions when you get in there, so good luck!”.

Educators’ Co-op Expands / Nashville, TN
When Greg O’Loughlin first started the Educators co-op a couple of years ago, he had no idea the important role it would play in today’s COVID education world.

“We have teachers from public, private and charter schools working together to make sure when a discovery is made that benefits students to learn in this circumstance it can be shared.”

University School / February 2019
A teacher by trade, O’Loughlin created the co-op to give teachers a place to share ideas and problem solve. Since moving online-amid the pandemic, it has expanded from Nashville to have followers nationwide. It’s a problem solving PLACE for teachers to turn to as they adapt to new platforms during this boom of virtual education.

“When there are questions ”Hey I’m not having a good time finding answers to this problem, I need a resource to help here”, we can bring that to the co- op and work together to find those solutions and share resources.”

Natalie Vadas,(vah-dahs) a special education science teacher, is a member of the co-op, she says it’s been a lifeline for her during the quarantine,

Natalie Vadas / Special Education Teacher
“During a pandemic, I not only switched schools, switched grade levels, switched content areas.”

That meant reaching out for help, and Educators co-op has been there.

“To support teachers we offer around the clock tech support on a discord server, where people can text questions and share successes, we offer two calls a week on zoom open to all teachers, where they share success and focus on a topic and we meet monthly in large groups in big and small break out rooms.”

But for teachers such as Natalie, in addition to helping with virtual teaching, it’s had a profound personal impact.

“Ed-co not only is a professional support group for each other, but because of the pandemic and everything, it also became this little family and emotional support.”

And what can parents do to support teachers who are still adjusting to distance learning ?

“I think it’s most helpful when everyone provides grace, this is very hard, we are motivated to serve your students well, and the whole family well, we are all learning.

A little grace for the thousands of classroom teachers nationwide as they work to adapt to virtual learning in the best interest of their students. Kim Martinez Reporting.

Suggested Tag:

Teachers interested in finding out more about the Educator’s Co-op can go to www.educatorscooperative.com.

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Greg O’Loughlin / Founder Educators’ Co-op @ 00:01

Educators’ Co-op Expands / Nashville, TN @ 00:09

University School / February 2019 @ 00:30

Natalie Vadas/ Special Education Teacher @ 01:08

School Supply Struggle / Families in financial crisis

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The number of unemployed Americans is expected to be 11 percent by the end of the year in large part due to COVID-19. Many of the unemployed have young children still in school and for those families, trying to get their students ready to be back in school, is one more depressing “new normal” since they can’t afford school supplies. Kim Martinez reports.

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Regina McCullom/ Mom

“No matter what I have to do, I just up and do it, if it means cleaning out a toilet, sweeping a floor, I’ll do it. Just so they can have what they need.”

Regina McCullom is a single mother of five. Three of her kids are still home, COVID-19 has taken a toll on her life and that of her kids.

” I lost my job”

Struggling to make ends meet, she has a new problem, one Americans all over the country are facing.

“Before when I knew school was getting ready to start, I would go and buy everybody’s school clothes.”

“And then I would do all that get the school supplies you know, stock up on the paper, you know, just everything that they needed, and so now, I haven’t did any of that, there’s no uniforms there’s no backpacks.”

Former NFL football player Drew Anderson is drawing attention to this very issue. Now a Pastor at Legacy Church in Arizona, he says the families in inner-city neighborhoods are hurting and lower-income children are going to need more help than ever getting the proper learning tools when they do go back to school.

“I know that the stress level of even someone like yourself is real high when you got three kids that you want them to be able to go to school and be able to have the things that they need to be successful.”

Anderson’s concern is personal, he grew up in a rough area on the south side of Chicago and the opportunity that saved him was education.

Pastor Drew Anderson / Legacy Christian Church

“But when you grow up in the Inner-City and you grow up in a poor area the one thing that all of us were always taught, was if you want to get out of this neighborhood you going to have to get an education.”

“I don’t know how they are going to succeed without their supplies and the things that they need”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“So you’ve seen it first-hand for a lot of parents out there who used to be able to provide things like school supplies for their children because of COVID 19, they can’t. “

“I would say 99 percent of what we are seeing today in the inner cities is because you have a lot of people that were working in the service industry and a lot of people that worked blue collar labor job and because of Covid those jobs are no longer available so the finances unfortunately aren’t there for people to take care of their kids.”

And while playing football was his way out of his neighborhood, Anderson’s heart is still very much with those inner-city areas where parents are struggling more than ever to provide even the smallest things, such as school supplies. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Regina McCullom/ Mom @00:06

School Supply Struggle/Laveen, AZ @00 :26

Pastor Drew Anderson / Legacy Christian Church @1:21

Kim Martinez / Reporting @1:32

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If you would like to help struggling families in your community, check with your local, public, private and charter schools to find out how you can help.

English Language Learners amid Covid

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Nationwide there are well over five million English as a Second Language Learners. For many of these students, the closure of their schools during COVID-19 has been devastating. As Kim Martinez reports, the barriers to learning are many and very unique.

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Heidi Cocco/ ESL Teacher
“Buenas tardes muchachas.”

Heidi Cocco, an English as a Second Language Teacher, is telling her students who’ve been struggling with online learning since COVID-19 closed their schools, she’s there to help them. Unfortunately there’s only so much she can do.

“Many of our students are living in small cramped quarters, sometimes there are two families living in a one bedroom apartment, sometimes, well they’re babysitting, sometimes you can hear the noise that’s left and right, the commotion. There could be five or four kids in one room with all the computer going at the same time, and kids still running back and forth.

Josselen Estevane / 8TH Grade ELL Learner
“My parents only spoke Spanish so that was all I could speak when I was growing up.”

Josselen is an 8th grade ESL student, there are six people from her family living in a small apartment. For her, virtual learning has been rough.

“It was easier in class, because if I don’t understand something I can ask the teacher. But in computer I can’t really ask her anything.”

Nevada Rise Academy / Las Vegas, Nevada
At Nevada Rise Academy where young English language learners were making huge strides pre-COVID in small classes with a lot of interaction, now those students are facing the same problems.

Justin Brecht / Exec. Director Nevada Rise Academy
“It is much more difficult, especially since we work with just kindergarten through third grade, a lot of learning letter sounds and letter names is watching a teacher’s mouth and watching a student’s mouth and doing it through the screen is much more difficult.”

And online, teachers miss important body language and facial expressions cueing them when a student needs help.

“You are worried, when you are learning a second language you are worried about answering, you are worried about should I be asking this, should I not be asking this? There’s 30 other kids in the class. So how the teachers know is by reading your face ,how can you read their face, you can’t read their face right now online.”

Another problem for many of these students coming from families who face big financial challenges also means at their homes there’s limited to sometimes no computer access or reliability.

“It’s really hard on the computer because sometimes the computer just shuts down randomly, when I’m in the middle of class it logs me out of the class. It’s really hard to focus with that.”

As many schools remain closed, the struggle will continue for ESL students. ESL educators are left to try and minimize how far these children end up falling behind. Kim Martinez reporting.

Tag:

The latest report from the U.S. department of education indicates the largest growth in the country of English as a Second Language Learners is in the South and Midwest.

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Heidi Cocco/ ESL Teacher @00:01

Josselen Estevane / 8TH Grade ESL Student @00:04

Nevada Rise Academy / Las Vegas, Nevada @1:05

Justin Brecht / Exec. Director Nevada Rise Academy @1:24

Student Athletes Lose Scholarship Opportunities

Suggested Anchor Intro:

As schools make difficult decisions about how to proceed amid COVID-19, one group that’s especially effected are student high school athletes. When schools decide not to compete, the consequences can be dramatic. At Omaha South in Nebraska, seniors unable to take part in the state track meet say the impact on their college plans is profound. Kim Martinez has the story.

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Adam Ali / Senior
“Since my freshman year, I’ve been thinking about just getting a medal at state, you know? I was like senior year is the year. I should be able to do it you know! But you know, they canceled it.”

Adam Ali is a runner at Omaha South High School, a Title I school serving many minority students. Ali was counting on having a successful track season and that would lead to money for college. But now there will be no state meet. His school district like so many others nationwide made the difficult decision to cancel the fall sports season including track due to COVID. For Adam and his teammates its been difficult to watch as other schools continue to play sports.

Jessica Fuertes / Senior
“I’d be peaking through the windows and just seeing them play. Again they have their mask on the spectators with mask on, the fans, just following the orders, you know the rules. It’s like so simple, I still don’t understand why we can’t play?”

Jessica Fuertes is a senior this year and a cross country runner. Her and her mom are both disappointed she will not be able to compete especially after she spent the summer training at altitude in Colorado. Now she’s more than worried that her chances for scholarships are gone.

“Just having less opportunities, less colleges to look at me at state is going to be disappointing, because other runners are going to be there and they are going to get scouted by really good colleges and then there’s me going to be outcasted, no one knows me, no one knows me.”

Other athletes all over the country are feeling the same deep disappointments. It all boils down to this.

Felix Cruz / Senior
“If we don’t compete in the state meets, coaches are not going to be looking at us. That’s the best of the best.”

Omaha Public Schools Board Meeting / Omaha Nebraska
The school’s track coach, John Tripp, was among many who tried to appeal the school board’s decision.

Coach John Tripp / Omaha South
“I see some of the other schools with their kids out running and smiles on the face and endorphins flowing feeling good and I wish that we could have that opportunity at Omaha South.”

Some schools are allowing athletics while others are saying “no”. Unfortunately for these track athletes, that “no” hurts their college scholarship opportunities and dashes their plans to get a big win for their coach.

“I really wanted the boys team to win this state title and I really wanted to dedicated it just to him because, he, I know the passion and the work that he puts into us, like it would mean so much to him.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

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For many schools that have suspended fall sports the hope is that they can be held in the Spring, but these OPS athletes say that will be too lat for their college dreams.

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Adam Ali / Senior @00:07

Jessica Fuertes / Senior @00:44

Felix Cruz / Senior @01:36

Omaha Public Schools Board Meeting / Omaha Nebraska @01:44

Coach John Tripp / Omaha South @01:51

Teen's Non-Profit Survives COVID Thanks to Dierks Bentley

Suggested Anchor Intro:
Country music’s Dierks Bentley is no doubt an inspiration to many, so it’s pretty impressive that a Nashville teen has actually inspired the superstar. He’s such a big fan of her work, he not only featured the young lady in one of his videos but years later continues to promote her work that has nothing to do with music and everything to do with having a huge heart.

Kim Martinez reports.

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Sydnee Floyd / Nashville Teen
“He has just blown us away with his heart and everything.”

Nashville, TN / 2018
Sydnee Floyd is talking about country music artist Dierks Bentley. It was just two years ago she was featured in his Fan Story music video series for his hit song “Woman Amen.” The video with 4.5 million views honors the teen for her amazing volunteer efforts to help the homeless.

But it turns out it was not just a one-time encounter with the country mega star!

“We have heard from Dierks, we’ve been in contact with him ever since the video.”

“His fans are incredible.”

“They have donated anytime we need it, yeah they are all across the country, but they donate from our Amazon list.”

That contact with both Dierks and his huge fan base have kept her volunteer efforts and outreach work through her non-profit Jumbled Dreams in Nashville moving forward during a very difficult time.

JumbledDreams.org

“So we’ve had to change direction quite a bit, we haven’t been able to go out at all which is really heartbreaking for me.”

Using the donations she’s received, Sydnee now has to let other charities distribute what she’s gathered,

But through her website she’s still encouraging teens to get involved.

“I feel like in this generation, we have social media, we have phones, we have computers we have tv’s, anything to distract us it’s there, but , I want to kind of take us away from that and see that there are people suffering there are people that need us there are people that, you can get off your phone for two hours to go and help someone.”

Not your typical teenager in fact helping others is Sydnee Floyd’s favorite pass-time and her mom Jennifer is constantly overwhelmed by her daughter’s heart to serve!

Jennifer Floyd / Sydnee’s Mother
“She’s truly amazing, she’s still a teenager! She has those teen moments, but she is truly amazing and I am one blessed mom.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

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If you’d like to check out Sydnee Floyd’s website, go to www.jumbleddreams.org.

Fonts:

Sydnee Floyd / Nashville Teen @ 00:00

Nashville, TN / 2018 @00:04

JumbledDreams.org @ 1:11

Jennifer Floyd / Sydnee’s Mother @ 1:53

SchoolHouse the Future of Pod Learning

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As more schools try to reopen with hybrid learning, an interesting component of the pandemic is still prevalent in many places and growing in popularity. Learning pods are once again becoming the solution to help families supplement the part-time in-person learning happening at public schools nationwide. GetSchoolHouse.com is an emerging company helping families find teachers and set up their very own one-room school house. Kim Martinez reports.

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Giulia Arencibia / Mother
“He’s back into wanting to learn and that was missing completely when we were full remote last year.

Giulia Arencibia (Julia Erin-sib-E-uh) credits an education model called SchoolHouse Learning pods for her youngest son’s renewed interest in learning. A first grader, he along with his older brother and sister are all in learning pods, to help them bridge what she sees as a gap between what they’re able to get from their public schools part-time and what they are missing.

“Being in the classroom for a few hours, wearing mask, six feet apart that just didn’t feel like enough of a normal learning environment to kind of just leave it there, so we are supplementing with interaction with a trained teacher.”

GetSchoolHouse.Com
Many families have gone to the company’s website GetSchoolHouse.com to be matched with a qualified teacher like Austin Boehm whose working with two of the Arencibia children. Because of his health issues the micro-school set up helps address this teachers Covid concerns, while keeping him working.

Austin Boehm /SchoolHouse Teacher
“I had direct conversations with the people who would affect me, the families the students, I was kind of able to have buy-in from them and make sure that we are all operating in a way that makes everybody comfortable.”

Austin is in agreement with Giulia about the part-time in-person learning.

“I think the reality unfortunately of the pandemic and remote and hybrid models is you know teachers just don’t have as much time with kids. “

SchoolHouse, is the brain child of Joe Connor, a former teacher himself.

Joe Connor / SchoolHouse Founder
“In many ways the one room school house, what SchoolHouse does, is a reinvention of kind of the early modern American School House. We really have taken that and updated it for the 21st Century. We first started pairing with great teachers in cities and towns across the country, New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas.”

SchoolHouse POD / Mamaroneck, NY
“Hi Miss Jennifer”

“We really think that these pods are a better way to learn overall and will continue to exist well after covid.”

SchoolHouse is also addressing a frequent criticism for PODS, the equity issue, with sliding scale tuition.

”Certain families that are fortunate enough to do so pay more so that others can go for a very reduced cost or even for free.”

A great example of finding creative solutions that work for all. Kim Martinez, reporting.

Suggested Anchor Tag:

For more information about SchoolHouse Learning Pods, you can go to GetSchoolHouse.com

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Giulia Arencibia / Mother @00:28

GetSchoolHouse.Com @00:41

Austin Boehm /SchoolHouse Teacher @1:02

Joe Connor / SchoolHouse Founder @1:30

SchoolHouse Pod/Mamaroneck, NY @1:50

Connections Academy - Choosing Online

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Enrollment is booming for schools who mastered online education long before COVID hit. Before the pandemic, there were already more than 2.7 million students taking part in digital learning, Now the numbers of kids going fully online is higher than ever before. So what sets the established online schools apart from in-person schools who have been forced to go virtual? Kiim Martinez takes a look at one of the best virtual schools in the business, Connections Academy.

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Kylie Hunts-in-Winter / Connections Academy Senior
“When I was three my dad walked me into my first dojo starting in Kenpo Karate and as I became more and more experienced, I started in Judo, Muay Thai Kickboxing. I have done some wrestling and MMA.”

17-year-old Kylie Hunts-In-Winter is an impressive young woman with numerous national and world titles under her black belt.

“My grandmother grew up on the reservation. I’m super close to my heritage.”

Her family is from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation Dakota/Lakota tribe. Fittingly, Her Native American name is Brave Woman. So how does Kylie fit all of this in as well attend high school earning a 4.0 GPA?

Timothy Hunts-in-Winter / Kylie’s Dad
“She wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all of this if she wasn’t in an online setting.”

Timothy Hunts-in-Winter turned to Connections Academy.

“I researched different online schools and I liked the layout of their online system.”

Kylie has been at Connections Academy since 7th grade. When COVID-19 hit, and virtually everyone went virtual, Kylie didn’t skip a beat nor did the tens of thousands of other students already attending one of the 43 Connections Academy locations nationwide.

“Our enrollment has spiked from 80,000 last spring to 106,000.”

Not surprising, COVID-19 sparked a large enrollment increase at the tuition free charter schools according to Connections co-founder Mickey Revenaugh.

Mickey Revenaugh / Connections Academy Co-Founder
“They figure if their schools are going to be mostly remote or remote or hybrid anyway, they would rather be in a situation where things were created from the ground up.”

Parents are turning to the most established online schools like Connections Academy.

“They have actually experienced probablly the worst possible case scenario of what online learning can be, which is parking your kid in front of zoom sessions for six hours a day or having to print out tons and tons of material in order to have material for your student to work on. Our program doesn’t do either of those things. It has a lot more structured time built in ways that you as a parent don’t have to be beside your kids all day long.”

“They have resources on how to help you plan out your day, how to handle the lessons, but if you’re super busy like me, where you don’t have time to do it in a traditional school day, you can do your homework whenever you want. A As long as you stay up with it and work hard and stay focused, it’s a quality education either way.”

“I think parents need to look into their different options and I think this is a really good option.”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Kylie Hunts-in-Winter / Connections Academy Senior @ 00:10

Timothy Hunts-in-Winter / Kylie’s Dad @00:46

Mickey Revenaugh / Connections Academy Co-Founder @ 1:22

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If you’d like to learn more about Connections Academy you can visit them online at ConnectionsAcademy.com. Next week, a closer look at another of the top online schools, K12 Online Learning.

K12 Online - Enrollment surges amid Covid

Suggested Anchor Intro:

The number of COVID-19 cases has been rising across the country and traditional in-person schools are debating going back to full-time online learning. While the majority of the nation’s school children remain in flux, there are hundreds of thousands of students who haven’t been effected by COVID at all when it comes to their education. That’s because these students were already attending one of the nation’s top online schools. Today we check out K12, which has been teaching children virtually for the last 20 years.

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Sunni Deb Weaver/K12 Arkansas Virtual Academy Senior

“A day starts around 6am when I begin to work on our farm.”

Sunni Deb Weaver, a senior at K12’s Arkansas Virtual Academy, has been enrolled in online school since she was in kindergarten.

“So much flexibility to work on the farm, and work with my animals”

The 17-year-old needed a flexible school schedule due to her love of raising and showing animals. She’s won numerous awards in Arkansas and at other shows around the country.

Cindy Brooks-Weaver/ Sunni Deb’s mom

“The flexibility of the scheduling with the online public school allows her to work late into the night if she has to, to stay on top of her course work.”

But it wasn’t just about accommodating Sunni Deb’s schedule that convinced mom to go with K12’s Arkansas Virtual Academy all the way back in kindergarten.

“Our local school districts had been in academic distress for a number of years and they were using an outdated curriculum. Naturally I wanted Sunni Deb to have the best education she could possibly have, so I began looking into other options.”

She the most established online experts in the country through K12, the largest operator of virtual schools in many states. Now COVID has catapulted enrollment at K12 schools by 62 percent from 120-thousand kids last year to nearly 200-thousand this year

Kevin Chavous/President of Academics, Policy and Schools at K12

“COVID has been I think in many ways an opportunity to excite what is possible in education. But its also been a challenge because for a lot of families who have really trusted the public school system to educate their children, they now have to be more involved and we try to take that load off with the way we offer our educational support.”

This includes certified teachers trained in online instruction and something called “learning coach university” for families who have never been exposed to virtual education.

“Most parents find it more rewarding. They feel they have a more hands on understanding of what the child is doing day to day.”

As for Sunni Deb who went all the way from K through 12 in a K12 virtual school, well she proves that solid online curriculum can in fact work for students of all ages and grades.

“It has given me the opportunity to follow my passion, while getting the best education possible.”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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If you want to learn more about K12 and the states they currently have programs, visit K12.com.

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Sunni Deb Weaver/K12 Arkansas Virtual Academy Senior@00:14

Cindy Brooks-Weaver/ Sunni Deb’s mom@00:30

Kevin Chavous/President of Academics, Policy and Schools at K12@01:24

Thanksgiving Message from Homeless Children

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Although it’s been anything but an ordinary year, we’ve made it to the holiday season, a time when we typically reflect on what we all have to be grateful for. Surprisingly, the students from a homeless school may be the most inspiring of us all as they share their own Thanksgiving themed message, showing the nation that there is always something to be grateful for, even during the year 2020.

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I’m thankful for my friends and Jazzie and my life.

I am grateful for Mrs. Ribatheth.

And my mom’s cats.

I’m grateful for my teachers.

I’m grateful for my friends

“I’m thankful for my momma and my life and my daddy, my momma and my grandma.

…..and my dog.

I’m thankful for Miss Elizabeth

And my mom and family

I’m thankful for my family and my friends.

I’m grateful for my mom and my dad and my dogs.

I’m thankful for Melanie Martinez because I love her music.

I am thankful for my Grandma, my mom, my parents….

I am thankful for my family

…..and I am thankful for 2k-20 !

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

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Positive Tomorrows / School For Homeless Children @ :01

Oklahoma City, OK @ :03

Effective Online Learning - A Closer Look

Suggested Anchor Intro:

With COVID still disrupting in-person learning for so many schools across the country, students are left with various forms of online education, but how do parents know what virtual schooling should be if they’ve never seen it before? This week, we show you what an online platform looks like at one of the most established online schools in the nation. Kim Martinez reports.

PKG. (TRT 2:07)

Jeanna Pignatiello / K12 Senior VP & Chief Academic Officer

“A teacher tries to take what he or she does in brick and mortar and just deliver it in zoom.”

Educators like Jeanna (Gina Pig-nah-tell-oh) Pignatiello, feel the frustration of the many families now forced into online learning. But through her work developing the online school system, “K12,” she says what families are experiencing is not a true measure when it comes to how virtual learning should really work.

“You don’t have to sit in a live session, nor is it appropriate to have a 5 or a 6-year-old sitting in zoom from 8 to 3 everyday just doing passive learning.”

At “K12” even elementary aged students have a great deal of investment and control over their online education. Starting with their profile and home page that the students get to design. A tile for each subject lets them see what work is due in a class, and also what their grades are.

And their students are not stuck listening to a teacher all day. Experienced online schools have many other teaching tools of the trade. Take this interactive anatomy class for example.

“Not a work sheet, not someone lecturing to them in zoom. 25:02 they are getting in there and getting as close to a hands-on experience using things like A.I. and virtual reality to bring that to them.”

The daily plan allows a student to look at exactly what’s scheduled for the day including live classes which are easy to access.

“And then down below he or she can see all of the lessons schedule for that that day and they can work through the plan. The little stars here will let them know if those courses are complete.”

Another feature “K12” prides itself on includes their program Newsela which changes the reading level of the article to suit where the student is academically.

“I can bring the text down to a more appropriate reading level. That can help to foster the engagement of that child in the content, not leave him or her felling frustrated.”

And many families agree that online schooling can be frustrating. Thankfully, they have options like “K12” where the experts have spent years perfecting their system and now have online-based distance learning down to a science. Kim Martinez Reporting.

Suggested Tag:

To find out more about K12 you can go to www.K12.COM.

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Jeanna Pignatiello / K12 Senior VP & Chief Academic Officer @ 00:24

Teacher Burnout

Suggested Anchor Intro:

At the start of the school year, surveys showed that 1 in 5 teachers were expected to quit due to COVID. Although we don’t know the extent of the fallout yet, one thing is clear as we enter mid-year, teachers are burned out from the immense stress of teaching through COVID. Kim Martinez reports.

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“What’s going to make it say e?”

Anyssa Ramirez is in both her second school year of teaching, and her second school year of the chaos of teaching during COVID.

“When 2 vowels go walking, the first one does the talking!”

During her prep period, she tutors a limited amount of children who have fallen behind in reading and are allowed to come to the school for help.

“Shiloh what is this animal?”

“A bear?”

This is the only in-person instruction she’ll be able to give, everything else will be through her screen.

“For the weekend, I got a hamster!”

“You got a hamster! Did you name your hamster already?”

Anyssa Ramirez / Second Grade Teacher

“I just think that moving forward into this sort of hybrid period of learning, we’re just going to be expected to do 2 jobs at once and it’s very exhausting.”

Upstairs in Melissa Ramirez’s first grade class, she also has a handful of students to tutor in-person.

“The word is Truck1”

And then it’s back to zoom.

“It’s difficult to have to be in front of a camera all the time.”

Both teachers agree it’s both mentally and physically taxing.

“Too much screen time, headaches, dizziness, exhaustion.”

And after months of double the workload,

“Everybody needs to go back on mute please!”

and constant distractions,

“It’s a lot on the teacher because not only are we teaching an am and pm and our prep to tutor the students we’re also just like, I haven’t cried in like 2 weeks about it, so here it is it’s all pent up.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting

“Right after our interview with this caring second grade teacher, within minutes she had wiped the tears away and started her second session of the day.”

The show must go on, her kids need her now more than ever and she will not let them down.

As for Melissa, she sees a light at the end of the tunnel to all of the growing pains.

“We now know how to use the technology and know how to make it more interactive for our students.”

But for those like Anyssa whose dream was to be with her students face-to-face, this has been a heartbreaking shift to her profession.

“If I wanted to sit and have a desk job at a computer all day, I would have picked that type of career.”

And it could very well force her out of teaching all together.

“If it’s going to be completely distance learning the following school year, I don’t know if I can sustain that.”

“Do it with your finger, exclamation point!”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Anyssa Ramirez / Second Grade Teacher @ 00:42

Kim Martinez / Reporting. 1:39

Be Kind People Project

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As COVID takes its toll on many schools, those children’s resources that have gone virtual are seeing a boom in their popularity. The “Be Kind People Project Crew,” says the pandemic is actually helping them spread their important message online. Their creative videos use song and dance to show students how to be kind, a movement that’s more important now than ever! Kim Martinez reports.

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(song)

“Character development through the idea of kindness and it is essentially founded on the concept that every single kid, every student, every person deserves kindness.”

Caress Russell is part of the Be Kind Crew, she’s a believer and participant in the Be Kind Project which brings live shows to children. Because of COVID, their work has gone both virtual and national. Be Kind is using this unsettling time as an opportunity to share their message with kids all around the country.

“A be kind assembly essentially is, you’ve got break dancers, you’ve got high energy performance, you’ve got amazing educational programming. We talk about our be kind pledge, where we got through the different things that it takes to be kind, to be courageous, to be respectful.”

But what makes it all so special is how the ideas are presented.

“Wow they are really cool I want to be like them!”

AJ Estrada/ Vice Principal Garden Lakes
“They respect the dancers, they think the dancers are cool and I think when you get the respect because they have that connection with the dancing, then all of a sudden they are like,”okay I’m going to listen to what you have to say.”

For many members of the Be Kind Crew, the message is a personal one, and their goal is to bring about change especially in today’s society, which feels very divisive.

“I know what it means to be the kid no one sees I mean I was bullied. know what it feels like to sit in a room with no one talking to you, be the kid no one pays attention to you, or in the restroom stalls, I know what that feels like, and so what the “Be Kind People Project” does is teaches kids to wrap their arms around that kid, pull them along and give them the self-confidence that money can’t buy, so it’s amazing!

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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To find out more about The Be Kind Crew visit their website at TheBeKindPeopleProject.org

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Caress Russell / Be Kind Project @ 00:35

AJ Estrada / Vice Principal Garden Lakes @ 01:03

Christmas Card Principal

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Can you imagine writing out 850 holiday cards? A caring school principal wanted to stay connected with her students over the holiday break so she started a tradition of personally writing out holiday cards for each and every child! It’s no small task, in fact she has to start in October just to finish in time, but she says it’s well worth the effort to make all of her kids feel valued and loved this holiday season.

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Wendy Shirey / Christmas Card Principal

“Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. We wish you all the best for a beautiful holiday and the best new year to come.”

“She’s an angel for this community.”

Heather Montgomery / Pinecrest Academy Mom
“She sends handwritten cards to all of the families at Christmas which is, I just think is really special.”

Jennifer Weber / Pinecrest Academy Mom

“And, it’s personalized with their name and they each get a different letter so it’s not the same thing so my son and my daughter both got different letters and it was just incredible.”

“We are so grateful that you are part of our Pinecrest community.”

”Keep working hard and earning your A.R. points.”

“I actually started this last year about halfway through with the clock ticking, I started to go ‘Oh my gosh what did I do?’”

“Last year it was well into the evening after ten, eleven o’clock at night.”

“That’s incredible the time she spent doing that, all the hours she had to spend.”

“I misspelled that one (laughs)”

“It must take her weeks and weeks to write all this out, because she works long days to so she’s doing this at home at night on her own time.”

“This year we have 850!”

“Usually the reaction is you’re crazy, why are you doing that?”

“As a kid I always had pen pals and I would love getting cards and letters from people and I thought how fun would it be for our students to get a Christmas Card from me!“

Allison Montgomery / Student
“Well, it’s pretty nice and it’s really sweet.”

“We are all going above and beyond in our own ways, so this is my way, because it just fits who I am and what I love to do anyways.”

“See you in 2021.”

“Happy Holidays!”

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Wendy Shirey / Christmas Card Principal@ 00:05

Heather Montgomery / Pinecrest Academy Mom @ 00:14

Jennifer Weber / Pinecrest Academy Mom @ 00:24

Allison Montgomery / Student@ 01:24

2021 Wishes From Students

It’s been a long and tough year for students. From their schools opening and closing to having to cope with distance learning and the difficulties they may find at home, COVID-19 has left it’s mark. One young group of scholarship students wanted to share their thoughts and wishes as they look forward to a return to normalcy. Here is what they say they’re hoping for most in the New Year.

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“Something I’m looking for in 2021 is that everyone can be all together again.”

“In 2021 I’m hoping that we can go back to normal, and go back to school without mask, instead of with the mask.

“I’m hoping in 2021 I can go to places without having to worry they’re shut down or closed.”

“I hope that my mom and dad will be able to go to work and not worry about coronavirus.”

“I just hope I can play basketball safely again and just be with my friends and family again.”

“In 2021 I hope that I like get better grades.”

“In 2021 I would like to be able to hang out with my friends more and be able to hang out with my brothers.”

“In 2021 I’m hoping I’ll get all 3’s and that I’ll become better at Math. “

“My name is Gabriel and in 2021, I hope my grandma MAMA LUCE, gets over Covid.”

“In 2021 I want to be able to go to the mall and hang out with my friends.”

“My name is Eddie, I’m 11, and for 2021 I wish many things, I wish that all this thing would end because I don’t want to be wearing a mask anymore It’s annoying.”

“In 2021 I wish that I would meet a girl you know!”

“I would love to end coronavirus and I would love to be back with my family .”

“In 2021 I’m hoping to see some of my friends which are online currently.”

“I just hope that people make better decisions and better choices in 2021.”

“Happy New Year!!!”

Hispanic Heritage Month – Children’s Museum Celebration

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From hands on experiences to art exhibits to singing and dancing, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is getting the full attention of a museum in the southwest. They’ve pulled out all the stops to make it memorable for young children and their families, Kim Martinez reports.

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Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company/Phoenix AZ
A performance by the Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company,  which brings the tradition of folklorico dances from Mexico, Central and South America, to life, that’s just one of the many ways the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is marking Hispanic Heritage month.

Ernesto Munoz/ Director of  Visitor Development Children’s Museum of Phoenix
“I think learning about other cultures and appreciating them has become such an important thing in the last few years. “

Hispanic Heritage Month/Children’s Museum of Phoenix
When it comes to art, something unique for children, the museum has set up a gallery with the work of

Gennaro Garcia. A native of Mexico, who now lives in the U-S.

“He takes all of his art straight from his Hispanic upbringing, Mexican culture, immigrant culture.

Gennaro’s exhibit of oil paintings are a reflection on the people in his life and his Latino Immigrant experience.

For Camilla Ross, the opportunity for her youngsters to be exposed to the different cultures starting at a young age is very important.

Camilla Ross / Mother
“I think there’s beauty in every single culture and I love that my kids can see that, I mean especially as a little kid I want them to grow up seeing the beauty in all cultures in all beauties around them.” :

Hands on experiences that reflect the Hispanic Culture such as making

Papel Picados… (Pay-pell Pee-cawd-ohs) paper banners used in festivals, are also a large part of how the museum is spending the month long celebration.

“When they come get to make their own here they are making that connection.”

At the star bar, kids are drawing themselves a REFLECTION of the Mexican artist Frida Khalo’s many self-portraits.

Micro-school teacher, April Desmond, brought her class to see the exhibits, and was so impressed, this mother of eleven returned with her own children.

April Desmond/ Mother
“In America we’re  all kinds of cultures, so we have to able to respect other people’s way of living, their thinking, because I think it’s important to love our neighbors.

Mariachi Pasion/ Maricachi Pasion
An all-female Mariachi group, tops off the incredible ways to celebrate the Hispanic culture, a true experience for other ethnicities to understand more about those sharing the world with them.

Kim Martinez reporting.

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It’s important to check the schedule for performances at the museum, mask are required for all visitors two and above.

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Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company/Phoenix AZ @ 00:01

Ernesto Munoz/Director of  Visitor Development, Children’s Museum of Phoenix @ 00:20

Hispanic Heritage Month/ Children’s Museum of Phoenix.@ 00:43

Camilla Ross / Mother @ 00:57

April Desmond/ Mother @ 1:20

Mariachi Pasion/ Mariachi Pasion @ 1:59

Permanent Switch To Online Learning

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The pandemic has been a great reason for many families to find different ways for their children to learn. Faced with the uncertainty of classroom options, many turned to online, and once exposed, many say they’re not going back to the traditional brick and mortar. Kim Martinez reports,

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Souraya Robbins / Mother
“Our lives got caught of shook upside down and we thought we need to find something more stable.

Souraya Robbins was not alone when she decided to make the switch from brick and mortar to online for her children’s education.

The Head of School for Stride and Insight Virtual Academies says the numbers have been incredible.

Charles Woods / Head of Schools / Stride Arizona Virtual Academy/ Insight Virtual Academy of AZ
“We had a huge enrollment surge so much so that we actually enacted our first wait-list.

For the STRIDE virtual schools alone as many as 66,000 new students were enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year. While not all of these new students nationwide are making the switch to virtual permanently, a substantial number of families say they’ll stay.”

“We decided that we liked it and we were going to stick with it regardless of how the pandemic was going.”

“I like it because my children were not only growing academically, you know if you looked at statistics of most children the past year, either stayed at their level or actually stagnated and fell behind, my children were working at their level and higher.And not only were they learning things academically but they had personal growth as well.”

National School Choice Week, reports there are 35 states offering a free public online option, for either full time or part time virtual learning. All 50 states allow for paid online school programs.

“Academically they find that it’s if not the same level of rigor, its more rigorous for what the work that we are asking our kids to do. They enjoy the freedom of completing their academics at their pace they also enjoy the beauty of being able to complete their school day at their pace.”

Tiki and Justina Brummund agree, saying once exposed they’ve now decided to stay.

Justina Brummund/4th Grade
“I don’t have to wait for the teacher and I can work at my own pace.”

Tiki Brummund/ Mother
“Also the materials are outstanding, the books are really good, we really enjoy, the majority of the subjects we like a lot we like the flexibility.”

“So for a lot of families, the pandemic forced them to look at education in a different lens.”

A different lens with more options and choice, Kim Martinez reporting.

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Souraya Robbins / Mother @  00:01

Charles Woods / Head of Schools / Stride Arizona Virtual Academy/ Insight Virtual Academy of AZ @ 00:21

Justina Brummund/4th Grade @ 1:46

Tiki Brummund/ Mother @ 1:49

Food Shortages and Students

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Throughout the pandemic, school nutrition professionals at districts across the country have been working hard to provide meals to students. While there have been many challenges in the last year and a half, the latest supply chain disruption to food and labor is causing even bigger problems in the lunchroom.

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Cindy Long, Administrator of Food and Nutrition Service at the USDA
“Some schools are having trouble getting consistent deliveries of foods for example, and in some places, especially smaller places and rural schools, they’re losing out on their procurement contracts to larger buyers. So this is all really challenging and we’re just committed to continuing to engage with schools to help them work through these challenges and provide whatever tools and resources we can.”

ENG-NAT-VO
Cindy Long is the Administrator of Food and Nutrition Service at the USDA.

The $1.5 billion funds will provide schools with resources to support the availability of food that includes two different options.

The first one is that the USDA buys food directly and works with states to distribute them to schools.

The second option is to provide money to schools to purchase food on their own.

The USDA also understands that due to the current situation certain requirements can’t be met, including serving food that meets all nutritional standards.

One way to help bridge the gap is allowing schools to reach out to local farmers and suppliers not normally utilized.

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 Cindy Long, Administrator of Food and Nutrition Service at the USDA
“It might not be the solution to the whole problem, but it may be if your regular distributor is struggling to get you fresh produce. There may be a producer in the community that can fill the gap. We’re strongly encouraging that and really trying to lift up the places and the stories where those kinds of things are happening, and everyone is banding together to make sure kids have consistent access to breakfast and lunches every day.”

ENG-NAT-VO-CONT
The $1.5 billion is expected to make its way to schools sometime this winter.

Mother-Daughter Program Helps Latinas Get Into College

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Navigating the path to college is not easy for first generation kids. That’s why out-of-the-box opportunities like ASU’s “Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program” are truly invaluable. Kim Martinez introduces us to a mother and daughter team working side-by-side to make it into college.

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Samantha Muñoz, Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program Participant
“Starting in 8th grade you’re thinking ‘Oh my gosh, why would I be learning about college yet?’”

Samantha Muñoz is a senior at Bioscience High School and plans to attend the nursing program at Arizona State University. She got a head start on her college journey as early as 8th grade thanks to something called the Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program at ASU.

Marcela Lopez, Access ASU Executive Director for Family and Partnerships
“The Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program has been around since 1984. It’s one of ASU’s longest standing programs and it started because the founders truly understood in looking at data that our Latinas were not attending post-secondary education.”

ASU put this early-outreach program into place to prep middle and high schoolers for college. It’s designed to increase the number of first-generation Arizona students enrolling at the university by directly involving the family.

Diana Muñoz, Samantha’s Mom
“I told her from the get-go, you have to take advantage of anything and everything that is offered to you and I feel like this program has helped her to reach that next step.”

Samantha Muñoz, Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program Participant
“She’s always telling me she’s never had the confidence to be a leader in school or in her education and she’s never had somebody to advocate for her.”

The resources are invaluable and the family support, priceless.

“We’ve learned throughout the years that families will be very quick to raise their hand and say ‘I’m interested and I want to see my child graduate from college,’ but then we talk about requirements or how to pay for college and then all of a sudden a parent starts to feel discouraged.”

To help parents move past feeling overwhelmed, parent-student teams attend monthly workshops at ASU and students like Samantha get to work on-one-one with mentors during the five-year program.

“What made it very unique was that family component.”

Marcela Lopez, who now oversees the Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program for ASU, actually graduated from the program herself. She and her staff work with partner school districts around Arizona, to actively recruit, seventh, eighth and ninth graders and their parent.

“They’re always there to help you and guide you through the process because to be honest I didn’t go to college, so this is all new for me trying to teach my daughter how she and what she needs to succeed.”

“I really hope with this program that she can see that she can do whatever she puts her mind to just like me going to school, that she can do that too.”

A shared experience of inspiration, hope, and a life-changing opportunity.  Kim Martinez Reporting.

On Cam Tag

Although it started as helping Hispanic mothers and daughters, over the years it has transitioned to welcome young men along with other family members as well as all ethnicities. For more information, visit https://eoss.asu.edu/hmdp

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-Samantha Muñoz, Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program Participant @

-Marcela Lopez, Access ASU Executive Director for Family and Partnerships @

-Diana Muñoz, Samantha’s Mom @

“Five Before First” Program for Minority Students

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A special school serving a one hundred percent minority population in Memphis is a shining example of what a difference a mindset can make. Regardless of the challenges the children face outside of the school doors, they are all acknowledged and cherished several times before their first period even starts, it’s called “Five Before First,” Kim Martinez reports.

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Star Academy / Memphis, TN
For students at Star Academy in Memphis, the day begins long before the first book is opened. It all starts with a personalized greeting at the car drop-off line.

Followed by four more positive interactions with adults on the staff before class.

“Five before First”, is one of Principal James Johnson’s innovative ideas to ensure students start school on a positive note.

James Johnson/ Principal Star Academy
“So if something happened that was not so nice, prior to them arriving, we have the opportunity we have five instances before the first period begins to try to assist the student with resetting their day.”

Star Academy serves a hundred percent minority population. They have found making children feel welcome and valued is key.

And it effects how they perform in class according to their teachers, who say they work hard to let the children know they’re in a protected environment where they’re cared for.

Omolola Ajayi /Teacher
“Home environments, you know they are just different, so when we talk about school, school is actually a really safe space for scholars.”

“You should have Aztec, Inca and Maya.”

Ms. Ajayi (Ah-jah-eh), an award winning teacher recognized for her skills, is also a believer in the time and space Star Academy gives its students to help settle into their classrooms each day, it’s called “Strong Start.”

“Helping them to make that transition from ‘I was once at home, but now I’m in the building and I have something purposeful and intentional that I have to do.’”

Another unique action the school takes to ensure success, individualized attention involving faculty, students and parents to assess what each child needs.

“We create this plan that says here is what the scholar needs to be doing, here’s what we are going to do, here is what we are asking you to do, to make sure that the student experiences at least one point five years of growth within the school year.”

And possibly most important of all, an inspired staff that believes with a passion in what they’re doing.

“I always say education is my activism right, everybody has their thing that they do and so education, being a teacher, is my way of giving back.”

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Star Academy / Memphis, TN @ 00:01

James Johnson/ Principal Star Academy @ 00:28

Omolola Ajayi /Teacher @ 00:59

 

 

 

B Royal Academy

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An educator who recognized a need in her community is helping change outcomes for her inner-city students. Under her leadership, young black girls are finding their footing following pandemic closures and in a sometimes confusing and controversial world. Kim Martinez Reports.

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Ka’ Rai Jones / B Royal Academy
“I have to fight against face book I’m fighting against Instagram, I’m fighting against body image issues, with our young ladies.”

B Royal Academy, Jacksonville FL
An interesting perspective from a fascinating school leader. Ka’ Rai (Kay-Ray) Jones, is the founder of an all-girls private school in Jacksonville, Florida. She’s also the youngest black female private school owner in the state.

But getting to the point of running a school was not an easy road for headmistress Jones.

“It is very, very hard to find someone that would mentor you and teach you the game.”

Kim Martinez/Reporting
“Be Royal Academy is part of a wave of black owned schools to start during Covid-19…all meant to get the kids caught up and to excel.”

Today her school serves 50 girls and they’re expecting to keep growing.

They’re succeeding for a number of reasons including having a learning model of mixing together the students of different ages and grades.

“It’s working. All of the kids are excited about learning because no one feels like they are behind or they are inadequate.”

“Whatever we believe we can achieve.”

Another area of focus, making sure the girls are able to visualize their potential through what they call “Self-Courses.”

“We bring in outside guest to the school like nurses and doctors that look like them.”

And the opportunity to learn financial literacy and launch business ventures is all part of the curriculum.

Destiny Rousseau / 4th Grader
“It’s called creations by Destiny. So I started with lip gloss and my mom helped me make them, and we have five different oils and king and fruits and stuff like little stickers and we added like glitter and different colors and stuff!”

The school has a heavy emphasis on their dance program as well, which Ms. Jones says helps build badly needed confidence.

“The kids are losing themselves, they are losing their identities trying to fit in with the masses. You don’t have to change for anybody,  be who you are, be royal.”

And be proud. A strong leader for young girls at a time when they just might need it most. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Ka’ Rai Jones / B Royal Academy Owner @ 00:01

B Royal Academy, Jacksonville FL @ 00:12

Kim Martinez/Reporting @ 00:35

Destiny Rousseau / 4th Grader 1:39

Physical Ed Teacher/Classroom Here & Role Model

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She’s a coach, a teacher and a lifelong volunteer which makes her an incredible role model. This classroom hero has spent decades helping kids develop their fitness as well as their character through both how she teaches her classes and how she lives a truly altruistic life. Kim Martinez reports.

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Saint Bernard’s /Green Bay WI
Michelle Van Dyke is a 35-year, career educator at Saint Bernard’s in Green Bay Wisconsin.

Michelle Van Dyke/Physical Education Teacher
“I’ve got the best job in the world, I’m the PE teacher.”

“And so to watch that kid hit a ball for a first time or learn how to throw a frisbee, and have it go where they want it to go, just to watch that excitement is just the best.”

More importantly, she teaches her kids how to be a “bucket filler,” Mikey’s phrase for volunteering in the community. Mikey is a lifelong volunteer and has been involved in more causes than she can remember.

“If anyone needs something I’m there!”

Rock Steady-Physical Therapy / Green Bay, WI
With that life motto, every week you’ll find her here providing physical therapy to Parkinson’s patients through a program called Rock Steady Boxing.

“Those people fight so hard every day to do normal everyday things because of there because of Parkinson’s and they are so grateful that I take time out like they are just like they thank you all the time and they appreciate you and that’s a bucket filler.”

“You know you want your life to be something that impacts others that’s that’s what you want ultimately and I think that’s ultimately what God wants for you.”

And she teaches her kids that being a good member of the community can be as simple as this…

“Just be kind, everyone’s going through something, everyones got a mess, we all have a mess.”

“I don’t know what you’re going through or the camera guys going through, I don’t know anything, so be kind, reach out a hand and it’ll be great.”

A true classroom hero with a heart to serve anyone around her in need. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Saint Bernard’s /Green Bay WI @ 00:01

Michelle Van Dyke/Physical Education Teacher 00:19

Rock Steady-Physical Therapy / Green Bay, WI @ 00:40

Durham Cristo Rey

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A brand new high school is setting out to serve the underserved in Durham North Carolina. Using the Cristo Rey unique model, this new school combines academics with a work study program giving students an advantage.

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“I want to keep it as three, what is three-squared?”

Cristo Rey Research Triangle/Durham N.C.
This is Cristo Rey Research Triangle, a Catholic high school in Durham.
Martha Zaldivar / Director of Recruitment @ Admissions
“The mission of this school, it’s not just enough for kids to get a good education and to graduate from high schooo, we’re thinking beyond that.”

Dr. Mike Fedewa/Founding President
“They get this invaluable work experience, it’s a highly rigorous college prep program, that means that the academics have to be rigorous.”
That means students spend time on campus, and out in the corporate work environment.
“It goes hand-in-hand academics with career readiness. We’ve been so blessed to have corporate partners that believe in that mission. Our kids go once a week and they work that day.

Greyban Benitez/ 9th Grader
“My job is Isla, it’s a Hispanic school, where people go and learn a different language.”

Naincy Arias/9th Grader
“I work at Diaper Bank, so basically we help people in need with supplies and diapers. We help them out a lot.”
And it is a partnership between the school, the students, and the employer.
“We’re also going to pair them up with a way to help pay their tuition and gain invaluable work experience, working at any number of the 19 partners that we have.”
In Durham, I’m Brian Jodice.

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Cristo Rey Research Triangle/Durham N.C.
Martha Zaldivar / Director of Recruitment @ Admissions @ 00:14
Dr. Mike Fedewa/Founding President @ 00:21
Greyban Benitez/ 9th Grader @ 00:56
Naincy Arias/9th Grader @ 1:08

Literacy Program Life School

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As classes resume at a school serving a majority of students that are economically disadvantaged and at risk, there’s a renewed effort on reading and writing skills. A strong literacy program has always been part of the curriculum at Life School in Texas, but now as the pandemic threatens to derail their work, they’re doubling down. Kim Martinez reports.

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“Vegetables need time to grow”

Reading is an essential part of every students education, but at Life School, Cedar Hill, Texas, Assistant Principal, Andrea Roberson (rob-er-son) says  literacy is job one.

Andrea Roberson/ Assistant Principal Life School Cedar Hill

“We know if students cannot read by the third grade on grade level, then they are more likely to not be successful academically and in life.”

“At Life School we have made it our main goal to make sure our students have what they need and have the resources that they need in order to reach that goal.”

Life School Cedar Hill / Cedar Hill, TX

As a title one school serving 86 percent minority children, with 60 percent at an economic disadvantaged, Life School realized, that the challenges those students faced were exaggerated during the pandemic, and as a result, this past Summer was spent trying to catch students up with extra instruction, and that effort is ongoing this fall.

Amy Johnson/Instructional Coach

“Everybody on campus just doing extra tutoring in classrooms etc.etc. to get them where they need to be.

”You have a lot of different emotions on here, so whose going to be in your story with you ?”

For teachers such as Tiffany Nylund, (nigh-lund) having all of her students back in class on campus this year is something she’s been looking forward to.

Tiffany Nylund /Teacher

“It just wasn’t the same, you know I like to be here and interacting with them.”

“I love my students they’re great, they work hard. They love to learn they love to read, they learn to love new things, they’re so engaged.”

As engaged as their teachers are, especially those who serve the students most at risk during this difficult time.

“This has been the hardest year for teachers in general and they’re working harder in every aspect,

but it weighs heavy on teachers hearts to get those kids where they need to be and to see how far behind they are.

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Andrea Roberson / Assistant Principal Life School Cedar Hill @ 00:15

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:34

Amy Johnson/Instructional Coach @ 00:55

Tiffany Nylund / Teacher @ 1:16

“What Success Looks Like” Guide to Fixing Failing Schools

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It’s an impressive story of turning the tide, one principal’s quest to change a New York high school from failing to succeeding. He’s put it all down in his new book out now. But this isn’t just a heartwarming story, it’s a blueprint for school leaders nationwide. The book by Dr. Marck Abraham is called “What Success Looks Like” and it’s a guide to getting the most at-risk kids to graduation. Kim Martinez reports.

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“It’s about having a vision

Marck Abraham is a Former public high school principal from Buffalo New York. This is one of the ways he would pump up his high-risk teens getting them amped to walk into school each day.

Abraham is known for successfully turning around a high school that was failing for years, within record time.

He’s now bringing his out-of-the-box methods to the rest of the nation as the author of his new book “What Success Looks like.”

Marck Abraham/Author,”What Success Looks Like”
“The book is talking about giving principals and superintendents and school leaders and teachers real practical strategies on how to increase graduation rates for black and brown males. The research shows that black males and brown males have the lowest graduation rates in the country.

He teaches and preaches accountability and thorough data gathering and analysis on students and teachers alike, he also talks about raising, not lowering the bar for high-risk kids.

“Because we love the and care about them we raise the bar see most people think if they care about kids they lower the bar they give them sympathy not empathy they pat them on the back and say oh I know you had struggles and can’t do it. “

But can’t do it isn’t in Marck Abrahams vocabulary, a by-product of his college football days when his team went from one of the worst to winning the championship. Likewise, Abraham flipped his kids from having a losing state of mind to embracing a championship mentality.

“I changed the narrative. I said hey we’re the best school in the land, often imitated, never duplicated. People are looking at me like, What? We’ve got a 60 percent graduation rate, how are we calling it the best school in the land? “

So you were calling out your students success before they even got there.

“I would just say we’re the best school in the land, we’re the best school in the land.”

During the next 3 years his school’s graduation rate steadily shot up from 60 to 87 percent overall, and an even higher 93 percent for black males.

“The book is really a call to action in saying we have the secret sauce.to show school leaders how you actually improve school performance and graduation rates for this subpopulation that the country is saying they didn’t have answers for.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

Suggested Tag:

“What Success Looks Like” is available on Amazon.

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Marck Abraham / Author,”What Success Looks Like”    00:36

Kim Martinez / Reporting    01:44

Thanksgiving Feature: Teachers Who Love Their Jobs

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This Thanksgiving week If you have a child doing well in school, you’re no doubt thankful for good educators. From those running the schools to those at the head of the classroom, good educators will change their efforts are reason to give thanks. This Thanksgiving we are gathering up the thoughts of those educators from all over the country as proof of their devotion to students, even during this most difficult of times.

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Kai Rai Jones / B Royal Academy Founder
“This is really my passion.nAnd here’s nothing else in the world that I would rather be doing, than what I’m doing now. What I’m doing today.”

Erika Martinez / Teacher
“ I hope to continue building on my teacher tool kit, there’s always something to be learned every day.”

Tunji Williams/ Principal Somerset Academy
“Again it’s that fifth core subject. Nothing is more important than a person’s character their personality, do they have the right traits.”

Tony Frallicciardi / Surf Skate Science Owner
“ I was that kid that really didn’t get math, but when I was passionate about something I was building this ramp and it had to be perfect, I realized that math was so important. “

Uli Frallicciardi /Surf Skate Science Owner
“Our goal is to get kids interested in science and technology with action sports there’s already a ton of science involved. Skateboarding without physics wouldn’t happen.“

James Johnson/ Principal Star Academy
“We want the students to feel like They are entering into a space that is almost like their second home.”

Michelle Van Dyke/St. Bernard PE Teacher
“How do you express that you are so grateful for being able to do the job you do and being able to volunteer and being able to be like you were just grateful. You know you want your life to be something that impacts others that’s what you want ultimately and I think that’s ultimately what God wants for you.”

Tiffany Nylund / Life School
“I love my students they’re great, they work hard. They love to learn they love to read, they learn to love new things, they’re so engaged.”

Kim Desotell / President GRACE School System
“Covid of course transformed everything for us. We will always be different because of covid. We feel we are better because of it. We were able to stay open and we were able to meet the needs of our students in the classroom.”

Angela Colbert Brown / Leadership Trainer Cfut
“It’s not so much what I want to gain but what I want to pour into individuals, that it’s not for the faint of heart, but it is rewarding at the same time.”

Omolola Ajayi /Star Academy
“I always say education is my activism right, everybody has their thing that they do 6:33 and so education, being a teacher is my way of giving back.”

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Kai Rai Jones / B Royal Academy Founder @ 00:01

Erika Martinez / Student Teacher. @ 00:11

Tunji Williams/ Principal Somerset Academy @ 00:22

Tony Frallicciardi / Surf Skate Science Owner @ 00:33

Uli Frallicciardi /Surf Skate Science Owner @ 00:44

James Johnson/ Principal Star Academy @ 00:51

Michelle Van Dyke/St. Bernard PE Teacher @ 00:53

Tiffany Nylund / Life School @ 1:15

Kim Desotell / President GRACE School System. @ 1:26

Angela Colbert Brown / Leadership Trainer Cfut. @ 1:36

Omolola Ajayi /Star Academy @ 1:47

Unique School for Students with Special Needs

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A small, family run school is offering students in Savannah an opportunity they might never have had if not for the foresight of its founder. Understanding some students would never thrive in a traditional large school environment, she opened a school of her own, and for today’s current students, it’s been a game changer. Kim Martinez reports.

Pkg. Legacy Academy

Heaven Taylor / Student

“I didn’t too much like school because you barely could learn”

“All the classes are bigger and noisier.”

Legacy Academy/Savannah, GA

” Heaven Taylor has come a long way since those days at her old school.

Now a student at Savannah Legacy Academy in Georgia, she’s thriving.

Denise Brown / Legacy Academy/Dean of Academics

“A lot of our students they are special needs students.”

Dean of Academics, Denise Brown explains this small but mighty school has taken on educating students who need a little bit more than what is offered in traditional schools, and less of a distracting environment.

“Some students are on the lower end so they need time to complete assignments. Or they need to be in a smaller quiet environment to complete assignments.”

While other students are much more advanced when it comes to their special needs program, so they may not that much more time, but maybe there’s a particular subject that they are not that familiar with that we can give them additional help to.”

Michael Lawton / Student

“They helped me with one on one, and reading because when I came here I really didn’t know how to read.”

John Montesinos, (mon-ta-see-nose) a math teacher at Legacy, says in addition one-on-one hel, it’s the class sizes make all the difference.

John Montesinos / Teacher

“The number one thing is the size. This is a very intimate setting, I think my biggest class is nine students, so in the public schools where you’ve got 30 kids a lot of them fall through the cracks, it’s hard to fall through the cracks when you are one of 8 or 9 or 10 students.”

Legacy is a family run and operated school which has evolved over the years. The inspiration for the school came from Margaret Brown, a traditional school teacher, who thought there had to be more to offer her students.

Margaret Brown/Legacy Academy Founder

“I was noticing a lot of students were coming in, they was struggling, and I said to my husband, Dr. Brown, why don’t I just start me a small school, he said well okay, lets try it. And I did.”

To this day the school has held tight to the Brown’s belief that all children deserve the opportunity to learn. For parents and students alike it’s been incredible.

Jasmine Smith / Mother

“As a parent I felt like Savannah Legacy just hits all my core values, so. It was a go figure .”

Mikai Jones

“This school I feel welcome and comfortable.”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Heaven Taylor / 8th Grader @ 00:01

Legacy Academy/Savannah, GA @ 00:08

Denise Brown / Legacy Academy/ Dean of Academics @ 00:16

Michael Lawton / 5th Grader @ 00:56

John Montesinos / Teacher @ 1:11

Margaret Brown / Legacy Founder @ 1:37

Jasmine Smith / Mother @ 2:01

Makai Jones / Student @ 2:10

Add New Title

St. Benedict
Suggested Anchor Intro

Sometimes classes take on a life of their own and lead students to discover talents they might not have even known they had! That’s what’s happened with a Memphis School’s photography program, where students are getting real world experience, Kim Martinez reports.

Sarah Kargauer / Senior
“ It puts me into a whole different world. It made me look at life in a whole different perspective. “

Senior Sarah Kargauer is talking about looking at life through the eye of a camera lens.

St. Benedict Auburndale HS, Memphis, TN
Sarah used her love of photography to develop a key component for her Memphis High School, St. Benedict, Auburndale.

During the pandemic she had the idea to start the “Be An Eagle” club as a creative way for the school to connect via social media with perspective students since they couldn’t physically tour the campus.

Sarah Kargauer / Senior
“So over the past year we’ve been working on transforming our social media and even hosted a few webinars so it really keeps the families in the loop who aren’t actually here at SBA.”

“ You agitate it every 30 seconds…:03 what’s agitating again ? One two tap,tap”

The robust photography program and social media fall under teacher Kaitlyn Stoddard’s direction.

Kaitlyn Stoddard / Director of Creative Media/Visual Arts
“I think them having the opportunity to shoot and create content for the school really gives them a voice. And just kind of empowers them to be able to market something that they are proud of.”

“This was our first home football game it was our red out ! Very cool. “

“And this set of post is just the fans because it shows a lot of passions”

For Junior Ryan Beatty the exposure to photography parlayed into creating a popular Instagram Account of the school’s athletic events.

“The reds, poppinig, teachers are everywhere, I just get your basic group shot having fun in the stands. “

Kim Martinez/Reporting
“What started out shooting pictures here at school just for fun has turned into legitimate jobs, including shooting for minor league sports teams, senior portraits and overhauling the schools social media presence.”

He’s off to a great start on a future career, Ryan hopes this all leads to a big job in sports photography. “

Ryan Beatty/ Junior
”It’s just that mentality now that it’s kind of there and it’s just keeps going and just the drive to get those cool shots for your portfolio.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

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Sarah Kargauer / Senior @ 00:01

St. Benedict at Auburndale HS, Memphis, TN @ 00:13

Kaitlyn Stoddard / Director of Creative Media/Visual Arts @ 00:51

Kim Martinez/Reporting @ 1:31

Ryan Beatty/ Junior @ 1:50

Photography Class Frames the Future

St. Benedict
Suggested Anchor Intro

Sometimes classes take on a life of their own and lead students to discover talents they might not have even known they had! That’s what’s happened with a Memphis School’s photography program, where students are getting real world experience, Kim Martinez reports.

Sarah Kargauer / Senior
“ It puts me into a whole different world. It made me look at life in a whole different perspective. “

Senior Sarah Kargauer is talking about looking at life through the eye of a camera lens.

St. Benedict Auburndale HS, Memphis, TN
Sarah used her love of photography to develop a key component for her Memphis High School, St. Benedict, Auburndale.

During the pandemic she had the idea to start the “Be An Eagle” club as a creative way for the school to connect via social media with perspective students since they couldn’t physically tour the campus.

Sarah Kargauer / Senior
“So over the past year we’ve been working on transforming our social media and even hosted a few webinars so it really keeps the families in the loop who aren’t actually here at SBA.”

“ You agitate it every 30 seconds…:03 what’s agitating again ? One two tap,tap”

The robust photography program and social media fall under teacher Kaitlyn Stoddard’s direction.

Kaitlyn Stoddard / Director of Creative Media/Visual Arts
“I think them having the opportunity to shoot and create content for the school really gives them a voice. And just kind of empowers them to be able to market something that they are proud of.”

“This was our first home football game it was our red out ! Very cool. “

“And this set of post is just the fans because it shows a lot of passions”

For Junior Ryan Beatty the exposure to photography parlayed into creating a popular Instagram Account of the school’s athletic events.

“The reds, poppinig, teachers are everywhere, I just get your basic group shot having fun in the stands. “

Kim Martinez/Reporting
“What started out shooting pictures here at school just for fun has turned into legitimate jobs, including shooting for minor league sports teams, senior portraits and overhauling the schools social media presence.”

He’s off to a great start on a future career, Ryan hopes this all leads to a big job in sports photography. “

Ryan Beatty/ Junior
”It’s just that mentality now that it’s kind of there and it’s just keeps going and just the drive to get those cool shots for your portfolio.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

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Sarah Kargauer / Senior @ 00:01

St. Benedict at Auburndale HS, Memphis, TN @ 00:13

Kaitlyn Stoddard / Director of Creative Media/Visual Arts @ 00:51

Kim Martinez/Reporting @ 1:31

Ryan Beatty/ Junior @ 1:50

"Character Education" Impacts Students

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A federal grant available to schools has made a new program called “Character Education” possible at a school in Florida. Students are learning the skills it takes to become a quality person now and as they head into adulthood. Kim Martinez reports.

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“Composure “
“Attitude, respect, perseverance”
“Preparation, integrity”
“Appreciation.”
“Courage.”
“Honesty.”

Somerset Academy / Jacksonville, FL
These students are talking about the eleven character traits they’re learning in a unique class at their school Somerset Academy. It’s called “Character Education.”

“I’m going to take down some of your ideas on ways to be more kind.”

The class is funded by the Nita Lowey 21st Century Grant. The grant makes money available for inner city schools nationwide. Principal, Tunji Williams, used his grant money to develop this unique class.

Tunji Williams / Principal Somerset Academy
“It’s so pivotal that they are able to get the qualities and skill sets and traits that they need.”

Williams is most specific that the class be taught to sixth and seventh graders.

“I think the middle school phase is where it’s most important , that is the murky area in kid’s lives, where they need probably the most supervision and most development and the most support.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“The comprehensive Character Ed curriculum has helped the students settle back into in-person learning. They get to come here and express how they feel about topical and sometimes unsettling issues.”

“Why do you think that would be important to make sure they’re in private before he went over those things.”

Mia Wilson teaches one of the classes and says it’s made a marked difference in the student’s attitudes and ability to think things through.

Mia Wilson/ Character Education Teacher
“So here, I am able to touch students in the community, to help them to grow up to make better decisions you know at least make sure they know what their options are.”

Jea’nay Britton / 6th Grader
“I think it’s a good class it gives us life skills that we can use in the future and also how to be a better person.”

Zoey Washington / 6th Grader
“It can prevent us from doing the wrong thing and handle the situation better.”

Character traits that not only make for a better person, but a better life as well.

“I really think that character education is something that needs to be included in every school if you can.”

Kim Martinez, reporting.

FONTS:

Somerset Academy / Jacksonville, FL. @ 00:22

Tunji Williams / Principal Somerset Academy @ 00:39

Kim Martinez/ Reporting @ 01:04

Mia Wilson/ Character Education Teacher @ 01:28

Jea’nay Britton / 6th Grader @ 01:36

Zoey Washington / 6th Grader @ 01:43

Fusion Academy - Nationwide One-on-One Learning

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An Innovative school, with campuses across the country, is making all the difference for both advanced students and those struggling in traditional schools. It’s all about one-on-one teaching, but that’s not all, the approach is also personalized to make it work for each individual student. Kim Martinez reports.

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“We were tasked to make a robot that we could control. So we created this guy.”

An impressive accomplishment for students at a very unique school system catering to 6th through 12th graders on campuses in 18 different states.

Jessica Kasten / Fusion Academy Scottsdale, Head of School
“Fusion academy is a revolutionary way to school.”

Jessica Kasten (cast-ten), Head of School at the Scottsdale campus explains that the schools are for those students who don’t fit at traditional schools.

Zander Fairleigh / 8th Grade
“I feel like it’s really different because at my other school there was a 32 people class room and this is like one on one.”

Gabriel Gatlin / 10th Grade
“I don’t’ get anxious anymore because I feel like it’s a supportive place.

After the one-on-one instruction, the next stop for students is the homework café. There, another unique aspect of Fusion.

“Our promise to parents is to take the home out of homework.”

Ending the “homework battle” means students are required to complete all of their homework under teacher supervision before they leave at the end of the day.

So what kind of students thrive within Fusion’s unique model?

“We have two bookends, we have special education students who need a modified curriculum, on the other end of the spectrum we have honor students who need a more flexible schedule or maybe they want to accelerate and graduate early which is definitely an option here at Fusion.”

There are 55 students on this campus, which is common for most of the schools nationwide. Ginnie Gatlin says the experience has been life-changing for her son.

Ginnie Gatlin / Mother
“He was, he was in a really bad place as to how he was feeling about himself.”

“Now we can say he’s college bound, before he wouldn’t have made it.”

“Oh that’s so fun hahah! I love it that is going to be such a cool texture monster. I can’t wait to see it.”

While Fusion has made it possible for students who need to learn remotely during the pandemic to do so the schools have actually seen an increase in students who don’t do well with distance learning.

“They were seeing the virtual environment wasn’t working. And a lot of people are coming to us post covid because they’ve seen gaps in learning.

A time with innovative alternatives for students are needed more than ever. Kim Martinez, reporting.

Anchor Tag:

Fusion is considered a Private school with tuition costs based upon each student’s course load. Some states offer scholarship accounts that are accepted at Fusion, and there is also a part-time option for students. If you are interested in finding out if there is a Fusion School in your area, go to www.FusionAcademy.com

Fonts:

Fusion Academy / Scottsdale @ 00:01

Jessica Kasten / Fusion Academy Scottsdale, Head of School @ 00:14

Zander Fairleigh / 8th Grade @ 00:26

Gabriel Gatlin / 10th Grade @ 00:33

Ginnie Gatlin / Mother @ 1:25

Braille Letters From Santa

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Santa’s got some extra helpers this Holiday Season, and these aren’t just any elves. They’re working at a school for the visually impaired, where they’re helping make sure, something special from Santa finds its way into their students mailboxes.

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Andres Balderas/ FBC Student
“A toy train please !”

Haylie Pendergast /FBC Student
“A bear that talks, a doll that talks and a lion that talks.”

Foundation For Blind Children/ Phoenix, AZ
Andres and Hailey aren’t any different than other kids their age, they’re all just hoping Santa is thinking of them this Christmas.

But what does set these youngsters apart is they’re visually impaired and attend a school designed just for them, the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix.

To that end, their school is making sure they don’t miss out on any of the fun other kids might have during the holidays!

Santa makes a visit to the Foundation for Blind Children, every year and he not only takes extra time with each child, but feels comfortable interacting with the students using descriptive language so they’re getting the most out of his visit.

But the school is also doing something else incredibly INSIGHTFUL….

They’re creating personalized letters from Santa to the students in braille!

Jared Leslie/ Director of Media & Development
“We use specialized transcription software known as

Braille 2000 essentially it’s a word processor to be able to support us, and these machines right here they do one thing and one thing only and that’s produce braille at a high volume.

“Dear Mikasa, elf tells me you have been such a good girl.”

Braille technician, Gina Lipko, will be proofing the letters from Santa. Visually impaired her whole life, she loves what it will mean to the children to get a personalized letter from Santa in a medium that they can read themselves.

Gina Lipko / Braille Technician
“To get a letter like that from Santa would have meant so much to me. It’s like he personally recognizes me and even though I read in a different way, I would know that he thought of me.

“It’s that whole feeling of being, being included, being recognized.”

Included and recognized during the holidays, from a school that already does all it can to make sure no child is overlooked year-round. Brandy Aguilar reporting.

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Andres Balderas/ FBC Student @ 00:01

Haylie Pendergast /FBC Student @ 00:03

Foundation For Blind Children/ Phoenix, AZ @00:23

Jared Leslie/ Director of Media & Development. @ 00:46

Gina Lipko / Braille Technician @ 01:19

2021 Education Wrap Up

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We all can agree that education in the U.S. looks a lot different than it did 2 years ago pre-COVID. We’ve seen sweeping changes and wide-spread innovation, direct results from the pandemic and school closures. Kim Martinez takes us through a wrap up of education in 2021.

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2021 Education Shake-Up (lower third)

Education in the U.S. has gone through a major shake-up since COVID started, new schools have emerged and long-standing programs have been re-worked.

Virtual Learning Struggles (lower third)

Virtual learning was a real struggle for some families caught up in the digital divide so we saw the importance of learning labs such as this one offered by Eastpoint High, a charter school in

Phoenix, AZ (top)

Arizona. Kids come here to get help with their online curriculum.

“I get my one-on-one time, I get help that I need.”

City of North Las Vegas, NV (top)

With most public school buildings closed for at least part of last school year, the City of North Las Vegas opened their own city-run micro school in a rec center so that kids could have in-person learning if needed.

Ryann Juden / City Manager North Las Vegas
“Literally in a few days a school was born.”

Schools That Stayed Open (Lower third)

Some stand out private schools chose to stay open to in-person learning throughout the full 2020/2021 school year,

Miami, FL (top)

The Biltmore school in Miami, worked diligently to successfully accomplish this, with a lot of safety protocols in place.

Green Bay, WI (top)

In Wisconsin every teacher working at GRACE Catholic Schools was rewarded by an anonymous donor for their willingness to teach in-person through the height of COVID.

COVID Homeschooling Boom (Lower third)

COVID school closures pushed many families to explore creative homeschooling curriculum like Surf, Skate, Science in

Florida (top)

Florida which teaches math, engineering, biology and physics through extreme sports.

“It’s like recess and school mixed together at the beach or a skate park.”

National Mental Health Crisis (lower third)

Other kids faced emotional problems throughout the pandemic and mental health has become a huge concern across the nation in kids of all ages.

Amber Chudzik / Licensed Associate Counselor

“It’s remarkable the number of students that are struggling.”

Memphis, TN (top)

Recognizing the struggle, Star Academy in Memphis has an innovative program in place called “Five Before First” giving kids 5 positive interactions before their first class even begins.

James Johnson / Star Academy

“So if something happened that was not so nice, prior to them arriving, we have that opportunity, we have five instances before the first period begins to try to assist the student with resetting their day.”

Lancaster, TX (top)

And at Rolling Hills Elementary in Lancaster Texas the kids start their day with a positive mind-set program called Move This World.

“If you’re feeling down move this world will kind of pump your energy up so for the rest of the day you will be excited for anything you do.“

Yes, see you later to 2021 as we look ahead to even more innovative schools, programs, and educators in 2022! Kim Martinez reporting.

Fonts:

2021 Education Shake-Up (lower third) @ 00:01

Virtual Learning Struggles (lower third) @ 00:10

Phoenix, AZ (top) @ 00:19

City of North Las Vegas, NV (top) @ 00:28

Ryann Juden / City Manager North Las Vegas @ 00:36

Schools That Stayed Open (Lower third) @ 00:42

Miami, FL (top) @ 00:49

Green Bay, WI (top) @ 00:55

COVID Homeschooling Boom (Lower third) @ 1:07

Florida (top) @ 1:12

National Mental Health Crisis (lower third) @ 1:24

Amber Chudzik / Licensed Associate Counselor @ 1:31

Memphis, TN (top) @ 1:38

James Johnson / Star Academy @ 1:51

Lancaster, TX (top) @ 2:08

Best of 2021 - Outstanding Schools, Students and Educators

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It’s been another difficult year for educators all across the country, but they’ve been succeeding and proving they care about their students! As we ring in the New Year, a look back at some of the schools that have made a positive difference as students return to the classroom!

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“Composure “

“Attitude, respect, perseverance”

“Integrity”

“Appreciation.”

“Courage.”

“Honesty.”

Somerset Academy / Jacksonville, FL
At Somerset Academy in Jacksonville, an impressive program funded by a federal grant has made a character education class possible, teaching middle schoolers important character traits that will help them throughout their lives.

Cristo Rey Research Triangle/Durham N.C.
Across the country in Durham, North Carolina, the ability to open a brand new Cristo Rey school, is impressive as many schools struggle just to keep their doors open. Teaming up with community businesses, the school gives students from disadvantaged homes real world work experience along-side their education.

Dr. Mike Fedewa/Founding President
“This invaluable work experience, it’s a highly rigorous college prep program, we don’t make ay bones about it.”

Jadius McGhee/ Student

“If you stay in that system where I said, like where you gotta get this done, this done, this done, then it just really becomes a natural habit for you to stay in that mindset..”

Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy, Milwaukee, WI And how’s this for determination? Meet the Million Dollar Man, from Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jadius McGhee earned his nickname after he topped the million dollar mark in scholarship offerings…he was accepted to 45 different colleges and Universities. He credits his school and family for his drive to succeed.

Samantha Muñoz, Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program Participant

“Starting in 8th grade you’re thinking ‘Oh my gosh, why would I be learning about college yet?’

Hispanic Mother-Daughter/College Mentoring Program

But that’s exactly the idea behind a program in Arizona that mentors not only Latina-girls who will be the first their families to attend college, but their mother’s as well. “Just hit it. Nobody slowing you down but you.”

Landry Walker High School Marching Band/ New Orleans, LA
And how about Wilbert Rawlins, a Classroom Hero who made a big difference for students in New Orleans.

Realizing the pandemic was sapping the confidence and skill level of incoming high schoolers he set up a special band camp to catch them up. This motivator says his band lessons are also life lessons.

Wilbert Rawlins/ Landry Walker Band Leader
“Success is where preparation meets opportunity. So, once you prepare for something, and you get an opportunity to showcase it, that is when you can truly be successful.”

Max D’Agnes – Junior
“I can go into college already knowing how to use these machines, and how to operate these things.”

St. Augustine/ SanDiego, CA
And speaking of preparedness, it’s what a Makers Space is all about at San Diego’s St. Augustine. The High School has expanded its reach with a state of the art lab giving students a place where they can learn how to use tools and improve their hands on skills creating more opportunities in pursuing an engineering career. In all, quite a few schools with their eyes on the prize. Kim Martinez reporting.

Fonts:

Somerset Academy / Jacksonville, FL @ 00:04

Cristo Rey Research Triangle/Durham N.C. @ 00:17

Dr. Mike Fedewa/Founding President 00:42

Jadius McGhee/ Student @ 00:456

Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy, Milwaukee, WI @ 00:54

Samantha Muñoz, Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program Participant 1:18

Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program/ Tempe, AZ 1:22

Landry Walker High School Marching Band/ New Orleans, LA @ 1:43

Wilbert Rawlins/ Landry Walker Band Leader @ 1:59

Max D’Agnes – Junior @ 2:03

St. Augustine/ SanDiego, CA @ 2:10

Parents React to Latest School Closures

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As the country grapples with another surge in Covid cases, once again, some of the nation’s students are paying the price. While some districts and schools are meeting the crisis with increased protocols, in some cities, much to the dismay of many, schools are closing. Kim Martinez reports.

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Once again, schools around the country are contemplating how to respond to another jump in the number of Covid cases. With the latest spike some schools are doubling down on safety protocols, but in Chicago it’s meant that some public schools have once again shut their doors.

For one Chicago parent, this is a real concern.

Sean Walsh/ Chicago Parent
“They’re being left behind where these are critical and crucial learning stages of their lives.”

“If everything was laid out clearly and there wasn’t starts and stops, I think they use “adaptive pauses”, is the term they’ve been using it would be a little bit easier on families and parents and the children themselves, my kids haven’t had a normal school year in 3 years.”

The decision is impacting more than 300-thousand students in Chicago, Sean Walsh has three students in public school, and while he says he has no anger or resentment, he thinks his students are paying the price.

“For the children I think it’s most difficult for them, because they don’t know what the normal structure should be and in many cases, that their instruction is staggered.”

Walsh thinks it’s time that schools address teacher shortages with the same approach as emergency services and stores, plan ahead to be able to cover for employees who are out sick.

“At some point we have to move on, and stop reacting to one decision or another decision by a third party.”

Kim Martinez Reporting

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Sean Walsh/ Chicago Parent @ 00:39

Lab School of Memphis

Suggested Anchor Intro

It’s not how every parent would handle their search for a great school for their children, however, when a Memphis mom couldn’t find a school she thought was the right fit, she boldly started her own school! Kim Martinez shows us why this new micro school is resonating with other Memphis parents.

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Coi Morrison / Lab School of Memphis/ Founding Director
“I was looking for something a little bit different, something that I had seen, something that I had heard but also on some level, things that I had not seen.”

Coi Morrison, mother of two, is talking about how she came to start a unique micro school.

“I thought well jeesh I can’t be the only parent in this city looking for something just like this, and it turns out I wasn’t.”

Lab School of Memphis / Memphis, TN
Using her background in education, her MBA, and belief as a parent that she could do better for not only her children but others, she opened the Lab School of Memphis.

“ It looks like Max is feeling a lot of different emotions today, which is okay.”

“We do lots of social emotional learning”

“Can you tell me which word feels good for you? For your mantra ?”

“As we come to know ourselves and love ourselves and develop confidence that translates into the way we learn and how much we learn .”

Parent, Robert Bledsoe, says it’s been remarkable how quickly his daughter is learning now!

Robert Bledsoe /Father
“Since she’s been going to this school she’s been more assertive and more decisive in things that she wants to do, wants to talk about and wants to learn.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“Starting as a micro school for only a handful of students there’s two small learning studios, but they are filled with positivity… from their artwork to their vocabulary lessons.

“The size certainly makes a huge difference even as we grown in the coming years our studios will probably max out for each grade level between 16 and 20 learners.”

“If you have a class size of 30…and you have 27 kids who all learn the same way and they are all excelling and you have three who don’t quite learn like everyone else, from my experience and what I’ve seen in the school system, those three kids often get pushed to the side.”

With a commitment to making sure no one gets pushed to the side here, the Lab School of Memphis is both teaching their young students on their terms as well as guiding them to become their best little selves. Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Coi Morrison / Lab School of Memphis/ Founding Director. @ 00:18

Lab School of Memphis / Memphis, TN @ 00:26

Robert Bledsoe /Father @ 1:05

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:11

Ongoing Decline in Mental Health of Kids

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School districts across the country are returning to remote learning or considering it due to the recent wave of new COVID cases. As important as it is to make sure students don’t fall behind in their curriculum, making sure their mental health doesn’t suffer is equally as important. Kim Martinez discusses what some states are doing to combat the crisis, as well as what still needs to happen in order for our nation’s young people to rebound mentally from the pandemic.

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“Our students are struggling with social emotional well-being.”

Amy Quinn, who runs an inner city charter school in Washington D.C., is seeing what the rest of the nation is when it comes to the mental health of her students, but fortunately for the children here at Yu Ying, has always placed an emphasis on their mental well-being.

Amy Quinn/ Yu Ying Dir. of Teaching and Learning
“Prioritizing that over anything else really has benefitted us throughout this whole time.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that between April and October of 2020, the number of mental health-related emergency department visits increased for children and teens.

Kids ages 5 through 11 increased by 24 percent and 31 percent among those 12 to 17 compared to the same time period in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Dr. Marc Atkins/ Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
“Certainly COVID has revealed, not only has it created these tensions and so on, its revealed underlying problems that have been there a long time, particularly in regard to our mental health system.”

State officials are taking notice of the mental health issues that are facing young people. Several states, like Illinois, are implementing mental health days. A new law went into effect this month allowing students between ages 7 through 17 to take up to five excused mental health days without a doctor’s note. If a student requests a second mental health day they may be referred to school staff for professional help.

“I think the intention is very good, and their interest and concern about mental health.”

Marc Atkins a Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago believes that providing mental health days is just the beginning of a lot more work that needs to be done.

“If we really want to do something about this other pandemic of health and mental health, let’s think about the system that isn’t responding to the needs of kids, particularly isn’t responding early enough let’s intervene early.”

Atkins says that support doesn’t always have to come from a mental health provider, it can also come from a trusted adult at school.

“I know as a mental health person that we can provide support to teachers so that they know what to do, sometimes we call it mental health first aid.”

“I very much want the legislature and all to hear that they’re on the right track, but we have got to do more.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

On Cam Tag
Other states that have implemented mental health days or are trying to pass similar bills include Nevada, Oregon, Virginia, Colorado and Arizona.

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Amy Quinn/ Yu Ying Dir. of Teaching and Learning @00:22

Dr. Marc Atkins/ Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago @ 00:49

STREAM School for Preschoolers

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With the belief that kids can and want to learn things like science, technology & engineering even at the youngest of ages, a new school is focusing on making some pretty advanced subjects work for Preschoolers. Kim Martinez show us how they’re doing it.

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Temia Sibley / Destiny Preparatory Academy Owner
“Science, technology, reading, engineering the arts and math. We basically implement that in everything we do throughout the entire curriculum.”

“Gold fish goldfish what do you see ? looking at me.”

Destiny Prep/ Jacksonville, FL
You may have heard of schools teaching STREAM, which stands for science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math, but what’s unique about Destiny Preparatory in Jacksonsville, Florida is that the school founder Temia Sibley (tah-mia) (sib lee) is teaching STREAM to kids as young as one and two years old.

“They’re not too young, nah uh, we just make sure it is at their level at their zone of proximal development and we just go from there, but you would be surprised at the early childhood stage, how much the children soak up.”

Temia says the key is “hands on experiences” that help young children learn in interesting ways.

A real world rocket launch became the inspiration for a rocket launch of the students… and that’s not the only experience that’s given them a unique learning opportunity.

“Where we going you want to go get ice cream ? You want to go get some ice cream

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“Destiny Preparatory Academy bases all of its lessons on new and exciting experiences for the kids, and all of its lessons have STREAM involved, today they’re learning the engineering behind a TESLA.”

“I want the children to know, you could be an engineer, you can design Teslas when you grow up. I just want to open a world for them so they will know, I can do anything, I can do anything.”

A frequent donor to the school, Antoine Mickle often offers financial help to fuel the spark in STREAM at the school!

Antoine Mickle / School Donor
“Exposure is everything. To read about it to hear about it is something else, but to be exposed to is a whole different light, and it brings what they read to fruition and it makes them understand a little bit better.”

A veteran of both public and private schools, Temia welcomes the opportunity to start working with kids from such an early age.

“I’ve seen children struggle with different deficits, in different areas, 1:20 and so that’s why I decided to come back down to early childhood education, just to kind of fill those voids and make sure children have a strong foundation. In science technology, reading the arts and math.”

The goal is to add a grade on each year to Destiny Prep… expanding the school as the students age up and grow in their love of all things STREAM. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Temia Sibley / Destiny Prepatory Academy, Owner @ 00:30

Destiny Prep / Jacksonville, FL @ 00:41

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:06

Antoine Mickle / School Donor @ 1:04

Building a HBCU Prep School / Black History Month

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As we mark Black History Month, we’re checking out an exciting trend! More and more black educators are opening schools. This week, a man whose vision is to create a prep school for students to one day attend the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Kim Martinez reports.

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“At Becoming Collegiate academy we believe that College begins in kindergarten.”

Becoming Collegiate Academy/ Jacksonville, FL
A mindset on college starting as young as Kindergarten, but not just any college, Cameron Frazier is starting his own elementary school in Jacksonville, Florida so he can help put kids on a path to one day attend a Historically Black College or university.

Cameron Frazier / Becoming Collegiate Academy Executive Director
“The vision behind Becoming Collegiate Academy is to provide each student with the HBCU experience. And that experience is the experience of community, of excellence, of love. The experience of having your identity affirmed every single day.”

While still in the planning stages, Frazier expects to open in the fall of 2022. He’ll offer kindergarten and first grade to nearly 200 students, eventually expanding to K though 5.

“The HBCU culture is infused throughout. And the reason why is when I graduated from high school, nobody told me about the great work, the history of the legacy of historically black college and university.

Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“So Cameron, this is the area where you want to put your school in North Jacksonville, and interestingly enough you have an HBCU here.”

“Yes, Edwards Waters University, uhm formerly known as Edwards Waters College. It is actually the first HBCU in the state of Florida. Oh wow so there’s a lot of history here!”

“A lot of history here, I love this institution, I love this campus.”

Audrieanna Burgin / Board Member
“I was a first generation college student, he was a first generation college student so we leaned on each other a lot.”

The good news, Cameron is not alone in his belief that the HBCU atmosphere can be beneficial. Audrieanna (Aud-dree-anna) Burgin, a professor, who’s known Frazier since undergrad school, is among the many from Jacksonville who believe in his vision.

“Our founding principles are based on research, belonging, growth mind says the fact that when a student is given a rigorous curriculum in a loving, nurturing environment, you are able to build the intellectual, social and skills.”

Audrieanna, also has a background in curriculum building and data assessment, and is helping to shape what the school will become.

“A lot of us are from Jacksonville, born and raised. This is an opportunity for us to really come in to our community and really make a difference.”

Making a difference and impacting future generations through a positive education experience, It’s a salute to the future as we celebrate Black History Month. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Becoming Collegiate Academy / Jacksonville, FL @ 00:04

Cameron Frazier / Becoming Collegiate Academy Executive Director @ 00:21

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:00

Audrieanna Burgin / Board Member @ 1:22

School Teaches Kids the Stock Market

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As we honor Black History Month, we recognize today’s Black leaders in education who are making history in the lives of their students each and every day. At one charter school in D.C., kids are in-training to become the next generation of stock market kings. Kim Martinez reports.

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“You take the money you have, you invest it, and then you watch it work for you.”

Legends Charter School/ Washington D.C.
A path to financial freedom and wealth for everyone who works and learns inside this building!

“But that’s why like Ameria said it’s important to start early than later.”

Here at Legends Charter school, which fittingly sits in a corporate office area of Washington D.C., Financial Education is comprehensively built into the curriculum and offered to the entire school community.

“A payment that is taken out of your bank account… it’s debit!

“Every single class in here is named after a stock portfolio”

Shomari James, one of the four founding members of Legends, wanted the student body of mostly minority children to get real-life experiences in investing and how money works.

“This is the machine that has your money in it, it’s hooked up to your bank .”

Shomari Akil James / Co-Founder, CEO Equity Now
“When you have an understanding about money, it changes things it opens things up for you.”

The kids couldn’t have better teachers on the subject. Shomari snatched people, like Justin Devoe right out of the financial world, convincing them that helping these kids is their true calling..

“So when you start investing don’t get scared or upset because you don’t have a lot of money right away.”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“The kids are extra invested in this class because they can win hundreds of dollars in scholarship money to invest in their own portfolios.”

Sincere Turner / 5th Grader
“You really need to learn how to invest and grow you money at a young age, and I think that’s really good for young kids to learn that.”

As it turns out, 5th grader Sincere Turner is really good at investing. He’s one of the current students picked to use scholarship dollars to build up his personal portfolio.

“This is money that is borrowed..”

The school uses its resources to help create wealth for the adults who are part of the Legends community as well.

Shomari Akil James / Co-Founder, CEO Equity Now
“We know what teacher wages are so what Justin does is he holds specific classes for just the teachers to talk to them about their finances or financial education as well, so they can feel prepared.

Dionna Towell / Legends Parent & Teacher
“I love the fact that he also, the financial department, Mr. Devoe also helps the parents as well to save to start investing in stocks and stuff like that.”

A school that’s taking investing into one’s community to a whole new exciting level! Kim Martinez reporting.

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Legends Charter School / Washington D.C. @ :22

Shomari Akil James / Co-Founder, CEO Equity Now @ :56

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:18

Sincere Turner / 5th Grader @ 1:29

Young Kids in Motion- Athletics Inspiring Students

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It’s simply a fact school isn’t the same draw for all students, but finding what can make it a place they want to be, can be the key to unlocking opportunity. At Young Kids In Motion that key is athletics, and as Black History Month continues we meet a woman devoted to meeting that need in her Florida community. Kim Martinez reports.

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Maltonia Wright / Principal Young Kids in Motion
“Athletics right now for us it’s a tool we used to keep our young men and our young ladies focused.”

Young Kids in Motion/ Jacksonville, FL
Maltonia (Mal-tony-uh) Wright who started the school which serves Pre-K through 12th grade in Jacksonville, Florida,

has found the hook to keep her students engaged.

“Academically if you are not sound you can’t participate in sports.”

Success in academics for these students is incredibly important because of where they start their journey.

“Right at about 93 percent of our students are low income students. 5:39 so we try to get those students academically sound.”

Using Title One assistance, the school addresses academic deficits with individualized tutoring.

The emotional well-being of these kids is another focus on this unique campus.

Wright’s son and the school’s head football coach says many students are missing an important person in their lives.

Paul Maple/ Football Coach
“Out of 150 kids in middle school and high school 85 percent of them, only have a mother in the house. 2:01 only nine have their real father.”

Taking the lead with the football program and offering advice where he can, Maple along with his mother are quick to acknowledge where these students come from and what they need to get through each day in a positive way and come out on top. (

“I want my kids to either be career ready or educational ready it’s up to them if you want to go to college, that’s fine. If you don’t want to go to college at least you are career ready. And ready to go, either way we just want them to be sound and ready for society out here because after high school it’s a whole nother level of life.”

Kim Martinez Reporting.

Maltonia Wright / Principal Young Kids in Motion @ 00:01

Young Kids in Motion/ Jacksonville, FL @ 00:21

Paul Maple/ Football Coach @ 1:05

Black Leader Opens School in Rough Neighborhood Where She Grew Up

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As Black History Month winds down, a powerful story about a school founder who grew up in the same rough area where her school now sits. After college she came back to her community, determined to raise the education bar much higher than it was when she went to school in the same neighborhood. Kim Martinez reports.

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“Say, it’s okay, it’s out of my way.”

Memphis Merit Academy / Memphis, TN
This proactive way of starting the day is a chance for students to express what might be holding them back from doing their best in school. It’s all a part of the overall plan at Memphis Merit Academy.

Lakenna (La-keen-uh) Booker, is the founder of this inspirational charter school, which is the result of her own realization, that, although she’d thought she’d done well in school, the education she received in this same neighborhood was not what kids living in higher-income neighborhoods were getting. That all became painfully clear when she got to college and struggled to keep up.

Lakenna Booker / Memphis Merit Academy Founder
“It is so unfair, that the amount of money that you have could determine your trajectory or it determines whether you get a good education or not”

Kim Martinez/ Reporting
“Lakeena Booker’s mission, actually started as a child growing up in this community, and in this house. She’s less than a mile away from her new school.”

“I did not want any child that looked like me that came from my community to experience the defeat or the disappointment that I experienced while sitting in college.”

“Alright give her a hand (clap clap) some love !! Very good.”

In this community, statistics show that only one in ten students that graduates high school can read at grade level and less than one percent are meeting grade level math expectations.

As a result, Memphis Merit has an intentional focus for the students that they’re well aware of each day

Thailan Scott / 3rd Grade
“She helps us she helps us grow our brains so we can go to college.”

“We have three prongs in our mission, rigorous academics, high quality instruction and character development .”

Opening the school was no easy task.

Booker says she recruited her first students by literally going door to door, passing out fliers at Walmarts’and stopping families in libraries. But the result has been amazing, now the school has a waiting list each year.

“When mothers go to sleep at night they know that they’re sending their child to a place where they can be nurtured.”

“A place where a child can tell an adult their dreams and actually be prepared for them.”

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Memphis Merit Academy / Memphis, TN. 00:01

Lakenna Booker / Memphis Merit Academy Founder @ 00:42

Kim Martinez/ Reporting @ 00:54

Thailan Scott / 3rd Grade @ 1:35

St. Paul Donors and Decisions

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It was a close call for a school serving a disadvantaged community in Memphis, Tennessee on the brink of closure, but a dedicated group of fundraisers as well as some bold decision during the pandemic by the faculty saved the day for St. Paul Catholic School. Kim Martinez reports.

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Sr. Mary Lawrence Wright / Principal St. Paul
“So the question then became okay we have 180 students, we can’t support our current staff.”

Being the principal at St. Paul in Memphis, Sister Mary had a tough road ahead. Could her school even keep its doors open at all?

Patrick Lawler / Advisory Board Chair, Alumni
“The enrollment dropped because a lot of our parents didn’t have jobs and couldn’t pay the fees. :45 when school started the enrollment even dropped further. “

St. Paul Catholic School/ Memphis TN
That’s when fund raising efforts for St. Paul, took off in earnest, led by former students such as Patrick Lawler.

“We all went to school here, we grew up in this community and we were passionate about its success survival.”

“Is there a root word left” continue cover same clip please

In all three-quarters of a million dollars was raised… but then, COVID hit. The school had to decide between in-person and virtual, they stuck with in-person and that’s when things really turned around for the better being one of the only schools that kids could still come to.

Sr. Mary Lawrence Wright / St. Paul Catholic School / Principal k-8
“We decided we really wanted to be able to focus on the children ….that were in that class room and that it would be very difficult for them to have their attention divided. 6:22 between virtual students and students in the classroom .”

”You cannot divide by a decimal number it has to be a whole number.”

Now St. Paul’s enrollment has doubled and still climbing, parents such as Sal Marascalo (Mare-uh-sal-co) are grateful for the school’s bold decision to stick with in-person learning.

Sal Marascalco / Parent
“It is difficult when I hear that students can go for maybe two weeks then stop and then go back home, that’s why it has been such a blessing here, uhm that they’ve been able to stay open.”

Staying open, and offering students a safe place to be, was an important decision in this part of Memphis.

“This is a safe place in this community that can be a tough place to live sometimes.”

Lisa Townsend / Parent
“You know there’s always a feeling that when he’s here he’s safe in an environment where he’s safe he’s loved on top of the educational aspect where he’s in a small learning environment where I feel that he learns better.”

The growing number of families in this community benefiting from St. Paul are certainly grateful to those who’ve kept the doors open, and they’re also thankful that their school is now flourishing and here to stay. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Sr. Mary Lawrence Wright / St. Paul Principal @ 00:08

Patrick Lawler / Advisory Board Chair, Alumni, Donor 00:21

St. Paul Catholic School / Memphis, TN. @ 00:30

Sal Marascalco / Parent @ 1:27

Lisa Townsend / Parent @ 1:54

School Is a Beacon for Change in Violent D.C. Area

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A chance for a better education, in a safe environment. It might seem strange that for some families, those two basics are out of reach. Safety has always been a concern in a very dangerous neighborhood in Washington D.C., but now one small school is becoming a beacon for change, Kim Martinez reports.

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Antonio Porter / 12th Grade
“At my old school before I transferred, I was getting A’s and B’s…and actually getting on the honor roll and everything.” I’m smart but coming here I couldn’t even realize how far behind I was.

What Antonio Porter discovered about his education after transferring to Washington D.C.’s, Cornerstone School, is not unheard of for students from the notoriously underserved 7th and 8th wards in the nation’s-capital.

Elizabeth Sallie / Academic Dean
“He thought he was doing pretty well and he got to me and I was like, “Ok but you’re not writing in full sentences consistently, Like really things that should be fairly basic and according to the standards should be happening a lot earlier he wasn’t doing consistently.”

Dean Elizabeth Sallie (Sally) says since those days, Antonio Porter, his twin sister Alexis and little brother Antonine have come a very long way.

“Three drops and I want you guys to test how long it takes for it to actually diffuse..

As have other students who’ve made the switch to Cornerstone.

Smaller classes, focused attention, teachers with time to help, its making all a difference.

Elizabeth Sallie / Academic Dean
“The school you were at before just did not give this to you, this isn’t your fault.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“Having a quality school in this rough area of dc is especially important to the Porter families since most of them live right around here.”

Alexis Porter / 12th Grade (middle)
“I love that my family get to come and they can grow up with each other and they can go through the same trials and tribulations in the school as each other.”

Several families at Cornerstone have multiple brothers, sisters and cousins here, and in addition to giving them a good education, the school is a safe place in a rough area.

“We also know D.C.s highest concentration of violence is in Wards 7 & 8 and I know a lot of students who have personally been affected by the violence in D.C.

“Again who may be in incredible families but can hear gunshots at night when they’re in bed because of where they are.”

“Specifically for me, it’s an environment, when I’m around my school, or walking and going home or coming to school I don’t have to worry about the that are outside of the building.”

Thanks to Cornerstone, kids can stop focusing on survival and instead let their guard down, and spend their day learning. Kim Martinez reporting.

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Antonio Porter / 12th Grade @ 00:01 (right side font)

Elizabeth Sallie / Academic Dean @ 00:35

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:22

Alexis Porter / 12th Grade @ 1:29

Foundation for Blind Children Trains Teachers

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Traditional schools are not the only ones facing difficulties in staffing these days, those schools that serve special needs students are as well. It’s especially crucial for visually impaired children to have enough in-person support so one school is now training it’s own would-be teachers.

PKG.

Jared Kittelson / Chief Operating Officer FBC
“Teacher shortages are happening all over the country and particularly in our very narrow niche of visual impairment. “

Foundation for Blind Children/ Phoenix, AZ
But as Jared Kittelson (Kittle-son) explains, the head of the Foundation for Blind Children, in Phoenix, Arizona, they’re working to solve that problem.

Teaming up with Arizona State University, they’re providing college students who want to become teachers for the visually impaired hands-on experience.

Ivan Santiago and Cameron Smith are both wrapping up their student work and say the exposure they’ve gotten is unparalleled.

Cameron Smith/ Special Ed/ Visual Impairment
“This is a really valuable experience, getting to work here and also take our classes here and intern here, it’s not the same at all as… it’s just like being in a classroom and learning about students, because a text book visual impairment is … it just doesn’t do justice for what it can look like in different kids.”

Ivan Santiago / Special Ed / Visual Impairment
“It’s an underserved population, less than one percent of individuals have a vision impairment, and so for me personally I had teachers in my life that made a big difference and made me successful so I wanted to give that back to the students that I interact with.” But perhaps one of the most important things these TVI’s, short for teachers of the visually impaired, are learning, how to bring a student’s whole team on board.

Jared Kittelson / Chief Operating Officer FBC
“So the TVI’s roll isn’t just about the one to one experience with the student, it really encompasses the entire system.

It could be working with a fourth grade teacher to help teach them how the assistive technology works, or it could be a basic accessibility to a power-point presentation, or something as simple as a seating arrangement.

Ivan Santiago / Special Ed / Visual Impairment
“Our job is not to teach the curriculum our job is to make sure they access the curriculum. So those skills will also translate when they graduate high school and go on to college, or vocational school. In that sense if you make them successful where they can access the information that will just carry along the rest of their life.

“It’s super fulfilling, these kids teach us as much as we teach them.

Accessing a world that may have seemed inaccessible if not for these future teachers,

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Jared Kittelson / Chief Operating Officer FBC @ 00:01

Foundation for Blind Children/ Phoenix, AZ @ 00:11

Cameron Smith/ Special Ed/ Visual Impairment @ 00:33

Ivan Santiago / Special Ed/Visual Impairment @ 00:51

Elizabeth Seton / Broadcast Production Class

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Possibly the best way to learn about something is to experience it! That’s true at an all-girls high school in Washington, D.C. Students there are finding out about the world of broadcast journalism through the production of weekly shows and segments. See how it’s not only exposing students to the possibilities of a career in journalism, but inspiring them as well. Kim Martinez reports.

Bria McNeil / 12th Grade

“I love it, I love how we can all come together with different ideas.”

“Good luck to our basketball team”

All of those ideas go into producing their own weekly live student broadcast called the Roadrunner Report. It’s all a part of a comprehensive broadcast journalism class at Elizabeth Seton High School.

“Hey guys it’s Sidney and Asia and we are back live with the roadrunner report.”

Elizabeth Seton is an all-girls high school and while it’s been around for years, one of the things that sets it apart, is the number of professional programs the school offers students.

Elizabeth Seton/ Washington D.C.
The students taking the broadcast journalism class are well aware of how lucky they are to have these professional resources!

Torri Jones / Senior
“I came to the open house like 7th grade and I saw this room, and I was like oh my gosh this is what I want to do!”

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“A small but professional broadcast quality studio is literally at the end of their classroom and this is where the magic happens.”:

Bria McNeil / 12th Grade
“We are extremely privileged to have this type of technology. ”

Led by broadcast journalism teacher Jessica Wilson, the girls each get a wide range of experience.

Jessica Wilson / Broadcast Journalism Instructor
“The girls use the virtual studio 1:26 but we do have small DSR cameras so they are out covering sporting events, you know covering other events, interviewing staff and students throughout the community, using their laptops to edit those stories together and create content of our show.”

Shooting projects such as the school’s dance team in action, then editing and producing the Roadrunner Report is how the students, many of whom are seniors choosing colleges, are finding out if a career in broadcast journalism is something they want to pursue.

Karyis Hilton / Senior
“All of my schools are focused on journalism so I think that’s what I’m going to stick to. Actually this class made me realize that I wanted to pursue journalism as a career goal.

But whatever these students decide to do, their instructor believes the experience and exposure is invaluable.

“Whatever we choose to do in our career paths we have to present, we have to be professional, we have to talk to people so it’s hopefully preparing them for whatever path they decide to take.”

“Thanks for watching roadrunners and have a great rest of your day!”

Kim Martinez, reporting.

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Bria McNeil / 12th Grade @ 00:03

Elizabeth Seton/ Washington D.C. @ 00:09

Torri Jones / Senior @ 00:43

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 00:53

Jessica Wilson / Broadcast Journalism Instructor @ 1:14

Karyis Hilton / Senior @ 1:44

Math Learning Loss in U.S. is Major Concern

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A new study shows there’s been massive learning loss in math across the U.S. due to the pandemic. The developer of a widely-used online math platform explains why this is very concerning data and talks about what she’s doing to get kids caught back up. Kim Martinez reports.

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Shalinee Sharma/Zearn Math CEO/Co-Founder

“The most unfortunate thing that can happen if you are behind in math, is that’s going to be correlated to not completing high school or not completing college.”

Shalinee (shaw-la knee rhymes with colony) Sharma knows how dire of a situation this is. She’s the co-founder and CEO of a digital math platform known as Zearn. Throughout the pandemic she says she’s seen big swings in learning levels and at the start of the year there was another large gap between students at different socio-economic levels.

“So we see low income schools start to diverge, with children not logging in not participating on Zearn and high income students doing the same amount or more Zearn.”

What concerned Sharma the most is making up for what’s been lost. One in four students in this country use Zearn, some independently, others in their classrooms. The learning gap data she’s reporting is significant. Her solution, commit to additional time learning through tutoring and summer school but she says that will only work if the time is productive.

“We have to be honest with ourselves ,which is, that extended time has to be programmed and used well.”

So how does Zearn work?

“We are obsessed with the idea that math can make sense and that all kids are math kids if we teach math to make sense.”

we make math concrete, so we use pictures and concrete and real context so that math makes sense. “

This mom has three students in public school using Zearn. She’s a huge advocate.

Afi Rukavina / Mother
“I really like Zearn for the individual child it has some awesome algorithm to help your child get over their little hump and it kind of tailors how they are going to teach you and it helps your kid feel confident even if they come in not liking it, they come out, finding some joy in this specific subject and it’s a lot of fun.”

Zearn Creators say another advantage is their ability to constantly update math programs, unlike a textbook. think about a textbook that’s shipped out to a classroom and it can never be improved again. 14:30 that’s the textbook you work with whereas the Zearn software platform is continuously improving and updating when we see students struggling we go in and fix the lessons and make them better.

Right now, Zearn is offered for students in K-5 with more grades under development…

Kim Martinez Reporting.

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Shalinee Sharma/Zearn Math CEO/Co-Founder @ 00:01

Afi Rukavina / Mother @ 1:28

Lights, Camera, Discover

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Latchkey kids are learning movie and TV making magic in one of the coolest after school programs around! Lights, Camera, Discover is a non profit endeavor that helps build on the technology skills kids already have. With the program, they can take what they know and grow it into full blown productions. Kim Martinez has more.

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“Can you toss me a couple so I can show? Thank You. Like that? Yeah. So just a little bit of the latex. Now you don’t want to put too much tissue, remember.”

Kema (KEY-MA) Charles is teaching these young students at Solano Elementary School how to put on special effects makeup.

“Let me see. Hold the other side. Oh, that looks really good. What about this? That looks gross, but good!”

Special effects makeup is just one of many things students ages 8 through 18 will learn during programs at Lights Camera Discover.

Kema Charles / Founder & Executive Director, Lights Camera Discover
“We really focus on those latchkey youth that parents are still working. They’re not in school, so they’re wondering what their kids are doing? They’re with us all day.”

Kema’s background in film led her to create the nonprofit in 2011. It provides a series of workshops teaching students everything from digital filmmaking, photography, acting, screenwriting, website design, and animation.

“The way we started is we were trying to think of something for kids to do in the summer other than playing ball or swimming. So, we still wanted to teach them teamwork. So, We were like let’s use our skills in filmmaking. for that. So, from concept to completion, they had to write it, act it, shoot it, edit it, special effects makeup if they needed that. They had to work together to complete a project.”

The nonprofit offers after school, weekend, and summer programs. Every student is tasked with working together to create different projects that include creating a newscast and anti-bullying video.

“Technology, it’s their thing. So, we’re teaching them another way of using technology.”

Jermyrah Jefferson/ Lights Camera Discover Participant
“We started filming a thing called LCD News and I’m a main host there and I introduce everybody to the breaking news, weather and sports.”

This fourth grader can’t get enough of Lights Camera Discover. She says she wants to become an actor and director.

“They’re teaching me what you need to learn about acting and directing and it is teaching me what you don’t need to do and what you need to do.”

“Acting helps with public speaking, filmmaking helps with paying attention to detail. Screenwriting helps with the reading and literacy because you have to read your script and write your script.”

Lights, Camera, Discover is a clever way to teach important skills that can be a struggle for some, but these kids are sure to one day be the star of the show in any career they choose.

Kim Martinez Reporting.

On Cam Tag
Lights Camera Discover is free for students. The program is currently in Arizona and a new one will be starting up in Chicago this summer. For more information about the nonprofit or bringing it to your school, visit lightscameradiscover.org.

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Kema Charles/ Founder & Executive Director, Lights Camera Discover @ 00:28

Jermyrah Jefferson, Lights Camera Discover Participant @ 1:30

The 11 Year Journey-Groundbreaking Program
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It’s an eleven year commitment, but the results are undeniable. For the lower-income, minority middle schoolers at Nativity Prep Academy in San Diego, the comprehensive support they receive carries them all the way through college and into their first professional job. It’s a groundbreaking project that has Nativity prep students quadrupling the college graduation rates of their peers. Kim Martinez reports.

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Jessica Hooper /VP Institutional Advancement
“It really takes 11 years to help change that cycle of generational poverty that many of our students are coming from.”

Nativity Prep / San Diego, CA
Home to historically underserved, low-income students from San Diego, this tuition free catholic school, Nativity Prep, calls it the “Eleven Year Journey” and it begins in middle school, but follows students after they leave Nativity into High school and through college.

Xochitl Alvarez / Director of Graduate Support
“The high school students, they come back once a week, so we work with them starting in ninth grade and helping them transition into high school and making sure that they’re finding the resources at their high school and looking for those opportunities for tutoring, for internships. And the 12th graders, well we work with them on their college applications, financial aide, scholarships.”

Kim Martinez / Reporting
“So as a first generation college graduate yourself, first in your family you know exactly what these kids are going through, what they’re thinking and what they need.”

“If you are the first in your family to get to go to college, like myself and all the other students here at nativity prep, it can be scary.

“The educators at Nativity Prep say they’ve cracked the code so to speak when it comes to creating first generation college graduates, and now they want to share those insights with as many schools as they can, and this is a big one.“

Showing the students and parents that they truly care is huge on this campus. Angela Leyva’s daughter currently attends the school and she also has sons who’ve graduated from the program. This mom says the resources are invaluable and effective.

Angela Leyva / Mother
“Sometimes I might not know the answer on who to go where to find that resource or to how to have them succeed at life in terms of school and education and Nativity does that for you.”

Sometimes just seeing that it can be done is powerful for these students with challenging situations, and they discover that in the span of 11 years they can move mountains for themselves and their families.

“I’d say the power of our program is that while we are focused on academics, you serve a student, you educate a child and you change the trajectory of a family.”

Kim Martinez reporting.

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The current college graduation rate for Nativity is 83 percent.

Jessica Hooper /VP Institutional Advancement @ 00:01

Nativity Prep / San Diego, CA @ 00:10

Xochitl Alvarez / Director of Graduate Support @ 00:24

Kim Martinez / Reporting @ 1:01

Angela Leyva / Mother @ 1:29