Asheville City Schools supports K-12 students through community-based small groups

Press release from Asheville City Schools:

Remote Learning is taking on a new look, as Asheville City Schools has been afforded
the opportunity to support students in Kindergarten – 12th Grade through
community-based small groups, called Positive Opportunities Develop Success also
known as pods!

In partnership with the Asheville Housing Authority, Asheville Parks and Recreation,
My Daddy Taught Me That, My Community Matters, YTL, CHOSEN as well as
numerous other community organizations, Asheville City Schools staff members will
push into these pods to support and facilitate student engagement.

“Our goal is to show what equity looks like in action,” said Shaunda Sandford, Chair
of the Asheville City Board of Education and Director of Residence Services for the
Asheville Housing Authority. “Regardless of our preconceived silos, Asheville City
Schools and our community partners have students as our focal point and are really
putting our money, time and efforts where our mouths are.”

Each day will include time for students to complete their daily, remote assignments
from our school-based educators as well as receive social and emotional support.
Additionally, the district will be providing breakfast and lunch as well as any
additional learning materials a student may need.

“We recognize that some of our students have barriers that may hinder their
academic growth,” said Kidada Wynn, Executive Director of Student Services.

“Therefore, ACS staff will act as a liaison between the pods and the student’s base school
by relaying and gathering data to maximize student success. Our number one focus will
be building meaningful relationships.”

In fact, each pod will be intentionally focused on four key pillars:
● Equity with Positive Impact
● Student-Centered
● Revolutionary Love
● Changing the Narrative

Asheville City Schools and our community partners have identified 22 potential sites
across our city; however; the district’s Safety Director, Walter Dove, is currently
reviewing each potential site to ensure proper safety protocols can be carried out under
current guidelines from Governor Cooper, the North Carolina Department of Health and
Human Services, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as well as the
Buncombe County Health Department.

“Our team is committed to ensuring each pod is as safe as possible by exceeding CDC
guidelines, and we know that may take some time” said Wynn. “The health and safety of
our students and staff members is never something you want to rush, especially in the
midst of a global pandemic.”

Because of this, only a few pods are scheduled to open as early as Monday,
August 31st. However, the district’s hope is that they will all be open by the first week
in October.

More information will be released about sites as they are finalized.

If you’re an Asheville City Schools parent hoping to learn more information about
enrolling, please contact your child’s school social worker.

Additionally, if you’re a community member who wants to support our pods through
monetary donations, please visit the Asheville City Schools Foundation’s website here.

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