December 18, 2020

Adrian and Ethan discuss the dramatic increase in failing grades across the nation as students struggle with virtual learning,

As reports cards went out for the first quarter, the number of Fs increased dramatically...even for students who had never had a failing grade before this. Parents and teachers are concerned that students are falling behind. About 67% of school districts use some remote learning. Failing grades seem to be a pattern for virtual students across the country, while in-person students are faring much better.

Research in Fairfax County, Virginia found the percentage of students with two or more F marks, for example, increased 83% in the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the first quarter of the 2019-2020 school year. Similar research conducted in California and Texas also found that students were failing more frequently as a result of virtual learning.

Nationwide, teachers report that many virtual students are failing at higher rates because they are doing very little, if any, work. They aren’t bothering to take tests. A lot of them aren’t even showing up to online classes.

Virtual learning has big problems.

Many virtual students never turn on their cameras, so who knows what they’re doing when they’re supposed to be “in class?” Those who appear to be sitting dutifully in front of their screens with headphones aren’t always listening to their teachers.

When millions of students returned to school with remote learning as their only option this fall, large swaths of them just went missing – especially in lower-income neighborhoods.

January is National Mentoring Month

Launched in 2002 by MENTOR National and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, National Mentoring Month focuses national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us—individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits—can work together to increase the number of mentors to help ensure positive outcomes for our young people. This campaign celebrates mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives.

Mentoring is more important now than ever. Although the times are changing, the ever-growing need for positive role models for our youth remains the same. Youth of all ages are experiencing unprecedented levels of upheaval and social disconnection during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this time of uncertainty, having a mentor can provide stability and connection that is essential for a young person’s ability to develop and thrive.

We can always count on kids to see the issues and set out to make a difference.

1. Shreyaa Venkat Is Helping to Feed 12,000 Homeless People

Shreyaa’s passion for helping others started as soon as she could walk, as her parents, active volunteers themselves, brought her along on their various projects. By fifth grade, she’d developed such enthusiasm for it that she started organizing her own service projects in her community.

The non-profit organization she founded, NEST4US, has helped tens of thousands of people in the United States. NEST4US was born when she realized how much food waste there is, how many hungry people there are, and how simple it would be to use the former to help the latter. Through NEST Nurtures, they’ve served over 12,000 homeless people in the Washington, D.C. area by providing food and other supplies. NEST Tutors is a free tutoring program designed to help low-income kids in 19 local schools. NEST Kares collects school supplies for at-risk kids, makes blessing bags for the homeless, and provides disaster relief assistance. NEST Buddies provides a “birthday in a box” to low-income children and families.

2. 9-Year-Old Jenny Shaw Started A Movement to Bring Joy to Kids in the Hospital

When Jenny was 6-years-old, she was diagnosed with cancer. As a young cancer-fighter, Jenny was inspired by the outpouring of love and support that she received while going through treatment. When Jenny noticed that other kids didn’t have the same support system she did, she knew she had to give back — even in her own time of greatest need.

Jenny’s first plan of action was giving care bags to other children facing a cancer diagnosis. These care bags contain necessities like soap, warm socks, coloring books, crayons, toothbrushes, and even a handmade beanie for kids going through chemotherapy. To date, Jenny has delivered 500 care bags and over 4,000 toys to children facing cancer or other life threatening illnesses.

Team Jenny Bean Inc. is an official 501(c)3 nonprofit. In addition to hospital deliveries, Jenny will now be shipping her survival kits directly to cancer fighters at home, so that more kids can experience the celebration of hope.