Nearly a year has passed since Integration Charter Schools first implemented distance learning into our classroom model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this time, we as an organization have been challenged to create a sense of normalcy for our students, providing them with the education they need to become outstanding leaders of tomorrow. Doing so from afar hasn’t been easy; however, our incredible school staff has gone above and beyond to ensure that our children are able to maintain motivation and productivity from home.
Our second year of remote learning at Lavelle Prep Elementary began with a generous gift from the Richmond County Kiwanis Club, who donated and delivered backpacks filled with school supplies to Kindergarten through 5th-grade classrooms. In addition, Zion Lutheran Church collected similar packages for students at Lavelle Prep Upper. Under the supervision of President Ken Byalin, principal Jenna Curran, and assistant principal Alison Losavio, the Elementary school team began to brainstorm ideas on ways to enhance the experience of our younger students who had trouble focusing during online classes.
The idea for supplying noise-canceling headphones first came from Aimee Horowitz, Vice President of Educational and Instructional Excellence at ICS. Though it seemed to be the best solution, investing in the expensive technology for each child was simply out of budget. A strong believer in the power of community, Jessica Bruschi, a teacher at Lavelle Prep, quickly assumed a leadership role in the campaign, eager to equip students with the tools needed for a successful school year. Gathering assistance from others within the school, Bruschi’s team was able to kickstart a program for Lavelle Prep Elementary through Donors Choose, a non-profit aimed toward funding public school classroom projects. In the following weeks, the school staff became dedicated to collecting over $5,000 in donations. “We are so grateful to the members of the community who donated to our cause,” Principal Curran writes. “Little do they know, through their generosity they made a huge impact on our student’s ability to productively learn from home.”
Moments away from teaching were spent spreading the word over social media, finalizing shipments, and thanking sponsors for their patronage. Security staff was also a huge help, constantly receiving packages to be stored safely until sent out to families. With contributions made both locally and across the country, Bruschi was excited to announce that their goal was exceeded by nearly two hundred dollars.
The kindness did not stop there. Around the holidays, Bruschi connected with KCM Plumbing and Heating Corporation, who sent two wrapped presents for each student awarded the highest number of Dojo points for the semester. She worked alongside our Vice President Mary Cottingham and Community Liaison Ben Owusu to help coordinate the distribution of these gifts.
The families, teachers, and administrative staff at Integration Charter Schools thank those involved in transforming the culture within our community this year. We are continuously grateful for the amount of love and support we receive.
“It was great as always, I love being involved. I’m so glad all of our headphones got funded. That’s so great!”-Rosie Dominguez (Parent)”So happy this will support students in being more successful learners! I know students and families will greatly appreciate these headphones.” -Aimee Horowitz
“I know our K babies will appreciate this. Thank you for all your hard work!” -Allie Demeo
“I love this project! Thank you for everything you do for your students!” -Kris Landes from Bothell, WA
“At the Major League Baseball Players Trust, we’re proud to partner with DonorsChoose to support teachers. On behalf of all players across the country, happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for everything you do!” -Major League Baseball Players Trust
“We are thrilled to support your project in honor of everything you’ve done and continue to do to keep your students learning during this especially challenging year.” -CAA (Creative Artists Agency)
“Hi Ms.Olivieri, I chose to donate to your class bc my daughter is a special needs teacher and I made the donation in her honor. I noticed it was your first time requesting and I remember her first time she asked she was so supportive! I wanted to support you and pay it forward for all the hard work all teachers do!”