How the Higher Achievement program is making sure students don't get left behind

Posted at 11:45 AM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 11:54:41-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond non-profit is working to prepare families for virtual learning so things fall in line for students in September when they log on for the first nine weeks.

Jazmine Hooks works for Higher Achievement, a resource for hundreds of Richmond Public School students in grades 5-8.

These days Hooks and her colleagues are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to making sure parents and students can get past any obstacles that may come up.

“We’ve been asking how is your internet connection? Is you scholar able to log into laptop? The apps on the laptop, do they have google classroom? Just getting a feel of what they know how to do, what they’ve done so far,” Hooks said.

She says virtual Zoom calls with parents and students are held weekly, as well as what they call family meetings are conducted to keep everyone in the loop.

An example is making sure families log on weekly when RPS superintendent Dr. Jason Kamras hosts Facebook Live sessions to provide pertinent information. She wants every parent to know about RPS Live and tune in every Wednesday.

Parents can even set a reminder on their phones and submit questions that RPS officials will answer.

“The Facebook lives were very informative and they had a 4th grade teacher on there. She ran through what a day looks like. When they log in and how we’ll do this. It’s really good information and I think they picked a great time to do these at 7:00 in the evening,” Hooks added.

Though the Higher Achievement program focuses on middle school students, Hooks says their concern is for all RPS students. She is especially concerned for students with parents who work and will miss a good chunk of the day when students are required to log on for classes.

“What can we do to make sure these students don’t get left behind while we are going virtual? We understand it’s hard for a lot of families, so we just want to try to lighten the load by making sure people everyone is informed, all the way around,” Hooks explained.

In the coming days, Hooks says they will host more zoom calls to walk parents and students through specific steps they can take now to hopefully make learning online a breeze.

“We are going to explain the importance of having a schedule. The importance of not doing your work in your bedroom. The importance of having a desk to sit at every day. Having a schedule for yourself," Hooks said. "We explain to them the importance of the first nine weeks. The importance of virtual learning and how you have to be more disciplined. So, we’re trying to teach them and families what discipline looks like, what scholar discipline looks like for your own family. We ask the parents what they expect from the scholars so we all have this conversation together.”