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Many M-A students come from Ravenswood, which serves students from East Palo Alto, Redwood City and Menlo Park. Last year, unlike other middle school districts in the area, Ravenswood was unable to offer widely available in-person instruction, likely worsening the divide between districts. After the pandemic, Ravenswood has been working to “re-energize and re-motivate Ravenswood students with learning and coming back to school” after the pandemic.
Eighth-grader Raylene Aguayo from charter school Kipp Valiant Community Prep said, “I feel like I’m learning significantly more now than I learned last year.”
Ravenswood Senior Director Jose Gonzalez said that Ravenswood’s “sweet spot as an organization is to leverage our strengths of relationship building and enrichment to get kids excited to reconnect with their peers and get back to learning.”
Aguayo said that “in the mornings some teachers have tutoring, which has been really helpful when I have questions on homework assignments. Like many other students, Aguayo said that last year it was “harder to communicate with teachers, but now, tutoring is accessible.”
Gonzalez said, “As an organization, we’re really focused on getting kids excited to learn, which will really benefit schools to get students to accelerate their learning. Once kids are excited to learn, learning can actually happen.”
The Ravenswood District has piloted Social Emotional Learning Curriculum (SEL), which works to develop key competencies like self-awareness and relationships with peers. They are also in the midst of launching “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging,” a read-aloud curriculum that exposes students to engaging and relevant books.
Gonzalez said that “to prevent long-term learning loss is to ensure that all students have excellent programs, schools, teachers, and adults around them in every single stage of their educational career and lives in general. A more technical way is for students to get ‘practice’ on what they are learning in the school day and to build mindsets that will help them be successful in the future.”
Aguayo said, “Something that has helped me is to relearn and review past concepts in school and then practice them at home.”
Gonzalez emphasized that while it takes a certain mindset to be successful in the face of challenges, the Ravenswood District is primarily focusing on preventing long-term motivation loss.