East Austin School Takes Action to Meet Student, Teacher, and Family Needs During COVID-19
By: East Austin College Prep
As a healing-centered school, EAPrep ensures that all students who need or are suspected of needing counseling receive relevant support and services. Students who were receiving counseling services individually or within groups during the regular school year have been sought out virtually by their counselors to continue their support services. Approximately 75% of these students are continuing to receive counseling services via telehealth. Additionally, at the rise of the pandemic, EAPrep worked to ensure every student had access to the technology needed to successfully partake in remote instruction. Project CARE, with the support of EAPrep, supplied 275 Chromebooks to students and determined internet capabilities were up to par for 100% of students and their families.
One of the support staff at the secondary campus professed with gratitude, "Project CARE continues to help our students during this time when they need it most! I feel very fortunate that ALL of our students have the option to receive counseling and think it's amazing that they [Project CARE] have the staff capacity to offer this. For some of my students, their counseling appointment with Project CARE staff is the highlight of their week."
Project CARE and the Parent Involvement Team kept parents involved in the process of delivering remote instruction and counseling services to students. The Parent Involvement Team and EAPrep staff conducted one-on-one conversations with all parents and reached 95% of families. Additionally, Project CARE and its partners meet with English and Spanish-speaking families who might have questions every two weeks and are launching a Facebook and Instagram weekly series for staff to provide self-care tips for families to practice at home.
Project CARE is supporting staff members with opportunities to participate in virtual circles and mindfulness activities. Staff join their colleagues for gratitude exercises, breathing techniques, and wellness check-ins. The Project CARE team provides both live and recorded mindfulness videos to staff members on a weekly basis and virtual hangout spaces monthly. Since the pandemic, 100% of staff members are taking part in these initiatives and claim to benefit from them.
Aleah Ruiz, Project CARE Director, EAPrep