On Distance Learning for Former Foster Youth
This spring, our academic world changed overwhelmingly as we embraced distance learning. Schools in Orange County closed in March, at first with the hope of reopening after weeks, but it quickly became clear school wouldn’t be returning to normal for the rest of the academic year.
The fix for replacing in person lessons was technology. This immediately highlighted socio economic disparities between students in schools. Some students didn’t have access to computers, web cameras, or the internet. And when students weren’t showing up to class, teachers didn’t have a good way of communicating with them.
All students have been negatively impacted by distance learning, but we know that former foster youth are already at a disadvantage in school before distance learning. High school dropout rates are almost three times higher for foster youth, and less than ten percent of former foster youth graduate from college. Because of these realities, many universities, including Orange Coast College, have a dedicated program to wrap around former foster youth to help them navigate college life and all the unique difficulties they are facing because of their past. These programs help in many ways: priority registration for classes, academic counseling, financial aid application assistance, and being a safe place for students to drop in anytime when feeling overwhelmed.
For the fall, Orange Coast College is continuing with distance learning and online classes. Unfortunately, this means that our residents won’t have the same access to the wrap around program. They are all feeling higher levels of anxiety as they try to navigate registering for classes, purchasing books, and making sure they have a space at home where they can attend class without distraction.
TLF is stepping in to bridge the gap in our residents’ education during COVID-19. Our hope is to create a dedicated school space in the common room, provide reliable computers, printers, internet access, help with purchasing books and other academic financial needs, supplement their online learning with dedicated tutors, and encourage a community learning environment we know can be beneficial to their academic careers.
Donate NOW to help us Bridge the Gap in their education needs.