In August 2020, United Way of Salt Lake hosted the Reimagine Education Innovation Challenge. During the challenge, schools submitted plans for prioritizing students of color, English language learners, and students from low-income families in their back-to-school efforts. At the awards ceremony, six schools were selected as winners and were awarded $50,000 grants to support the implementation of their plans. Granite School District’s James E. Moss Elementary was selected as one of the six winners for their plan which focused on creating an inclusive and supportive place for parents and caregivers by offering a variety of proactive outreach, training, and interpretation services. Read more about how COVID-19 affected the plan and how the school adapted during the first half of the 2020-2021 school year.
Inclusivity and Support
James E. Moss elementary had a plan to create an inclusive, supportive place for parents and caregivers, deepening family involvement in children’s education. By initiating outreach protocols and by offering trainings and interpretation services they hoped to foster a sense of community.
However, the onset of COVID-19 slowed in-person interactions. United Way of Salt Lake partnered with generous donors and school staff to distribute 50 chrome books to James E. Moss families who didn’t have computers at home.
Boosting Academic Success
Sabrina Felsted, Assistant Principal at Moss Elementary, shared these thoughts on the impact the devices had and the excitement expressed by the families when they received them.
At James E. Moss we have a very diverse population with about 95 percent of our students receiving free or reduced-cost lunch. We also have a high number of refugee and immigrant students. Moss was blessed with a generous donation of Chromebooks.
We [selected families to receive these] based not only on need, but on their student’s need for extra academic support. Each Chromebook has been given to families in a one-on-one setting. This has been a wonderful opportunity for teachers and other staff to have a positive family partnering experience face–to–face with these families.
Not only have we been able to build relationships with families as we deliver the devices, we have made sure the Chromebooks are tools that will be used to help our students access school resources and boost their academic success. We have helped families set up the devices; we have bookmarked key sites for students, such as ST Math, Imagine Learning, and Grade Level websites; we have bookmarked free English classes for parents who are non-native English-speakers, and we’ve been able to get some parents access to Imagine Learning.
Families have been very grateful for this wonderful gift; one particular family has thanked the school three times. Several of the families have never had a computer at their home and were beyond excited to get one. One teacher came to me and said “you should have seen my student (4th grade) and his older brother practically skipping down the hall holding hands heading out the door. They had never had a computer before.”
Many families have benefited from these generous donations. Thank you so very much to all the donors who made this high-impact resource available to our students. You have truly made such a difference to our families.
Learn about the other recipients of the Reimagine Education Grant here.
By Patti White, School Network Director at United Way of Salt Lake