As districts make plans for re-opening in the spring and fall, Higher Achievement continues to work closely with schools, administrators, and teachers to advocate for the needs of our scholars and families. As plans unfold and evolve, we continue to provide critical educational and social-emotional tools to help our scholars thrive.
Our scholars, mentors, and staff are stepping up in big ways during virtual programming, and we are seeing results. Despite the challenges of remote learning, our scholars demonstrate their passion, commitment, and drive each week during virtual programming. Early results from the spring and fall indicate they are making significant academic and social-emotional gains this year.
In fact, scholars have more positive outcomes in social-emotional learning (SEL) and math grades compared to fall 2019:
- When asked how much scholars feel they have learned in virtual Higher Achievement, 59% say they are learning more than “a lot,” and 31% are learning a moderate amount.
- Scholars reported higher levels of confidence in SEL indicators across the board. Notably, scholars care more about their success in school now (86%) compared to at the beginning of the fall (83%).
- Scholar-reported social-emotional skills linked to school engagement increased 10% from 2019 to 2020.
- Scholars who regularly attend programming have an average grade of B-, and of those scholars, 69% earned an A or B in math and 63% of scholars earned an A or B in reading.
In a virtual world, connection is more critical than ever in fostering social-emotional wellbeing and engagement in online learning, and our scholars’ outcomes are a direct result of the strong relationships built during programming.
Thanks to the dedication of our mentors and staff, 85% of scholars feel somewhat to very connected to center staff even during virtual programming, and 87% of scholars said that Higher Achievement mentoring lessons keep them engaged.
Mentors and staff continue to create space for scholars to engage in discussion during programming and processing the material they learn. Between 6-8% more scholars expressed feeling that they have opportunities to lead, share their opinions, and make choices during virtual programming than they did last year. As a result, mentors’ assessment of their scholars’ engagement increased from 54% last spring to 86% this fall. These results demonstrate that adjustments to virtual programming based on scholar, mentor, staff, and family feedback – paired with research on virtual learning techniques – lead to positive outcomes for scholars.
Shifting to an all-virtual format presented obstacles for both mentors and scholars, but they rose to the challenge. We are thankful for the opportunity to stand alongside our young people as they grow into their dreams and ambitions.