In celebration of National Charter Schools Week (NCSW), today, Impact Public Schools joins a select group of 10 schools being recognized by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as Above and Beyond Award honorees. The Above and Beyond Award was earned by schools that took the extra step to serve not only their own students, but also the broader community—during the coronavirus pandemic, despite all the challenges that came with transitioning to online learning. Impact Public Schools is being recognized for our work removing barriers for students and building a community-contextualized, high-quality distance learning program for our youngest elementary students. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Impact Public Schools quickly assessed the needs of their students, their families, and the community, and mobilized to serve their flagship site, Puget Sound Elementary.
Impact Public Schools’ CEO, Jen D. Wickens, shared “COVID-19 has the potential to dramatically widen the gaps that already exist. Now more than ever, our scholars need the skills that enable them to succeed in college and impact communities as the next generation of equity-driven innovative leaders.” As soon as it became clear that school buildings would be closed for an extended period of time, Impact Public Schools fundraised and built partnerships to provide students with WiFi hotspots, laptops, and free meals—which are available to any child free of charge, regardless of school of enrollment. The school quickly compiled six weeks worth of at-home learning packets for Kindergarten through 2nd grade and launched a read-aloud video series—all of which have been made available to any interested parties online. Impact recently hosted a webinar for more than 215 educators showcasing the Impact at Home – Phase 2 distance learning model, which includes social emotional learning, individualized, synchronous small group instruction and hands-on project-based learning, as well as one-on-one instruction for each student. The Impact team created a custom Distance Learning website and operates a radio station to guide young students through their virtual day.
“When schools nationwide transitioned to distance learning, it became clear to us that charter schools were setting a model for the rest of the nation on what it looked like to step up and care for their communities in the face of a global pandemic,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “There are many public schools that served their students well in the face of COVID-19, but the exceptional work of our Above and Beyond Award winners embodies compassion and caring for people outside their school community who also needed help. Their work is a model of servant leadership for the rest of the nation,” she added.
The National Charter Schools Week 2020 theme, “Above and Beyond,” speaks to the extraordinary work all charter schools are doing during the pandemic. To join Impact Public Schools in celebrating this week, share photos and videos of charter school parents, students and supporters with Impact and the National Alliance on social media. On Twitter tag @Impact_PSWA and @charteralliance, and hashtag #CharterSchoolsWeek and #AboveAndBeyond.