CARE Elementary School
STOP Award Finalist
Essential workers could be confident that this school would not fail their children during a crisis.
The children in this Overtown community are destined to an intergenerational cycle of illiteracy and poverty that exists in the neighborhood. CARE Elementary School was created to change that trajectory.
About CARE Elementary School
“CARE Elementary School provides a free quality private school education to disadvantaged minority children in Miami in a nurturing Christian environment, empowering them with the academic and spiritual foundation to be successful. The school is a caring, respectful, and safe environment in which its students are prepared to be confident, lifelong learners and responsible citizens where student success is the norm, in contrast to the inadequate education offered by the public schools in the area. This STOP Award finalist empowers its students with the reading skills to succeed in school and the moral compass to succeed in life.”
What they did to Counter Covid’s Impact on Students
To mitigate the early impact of COVID, distance learning tablets equipped with programming were delivered to students at home but when it became apparent that internet connectivity and home environments were problematic for students, CARE pivoted to bring students – many of whose parents were essential workers – back to their gymnasium with staff supervision for in-school instruction for students experiencing challenges, and quickly made plans to reopen in full in September when much of Miami-Dade County and nation were already planning to stay closed. Despite the challenges, student achievement was outstanding, increasing from pre-pandemic levels, and surpassing comparable populations in public schools. In six years, even with COVID, CARE students went from 11% to 72% proficiency in reading alone.
“In 2015 when we opened, only 11% of our students were reading at or above grade level. But today, 2021, even in a year of learning loss, 72% are now considered proficient readers.”
CARE believes every child is a gift from God, deserving the best education available, starting early.
How they STOP-ped for Students
Reorganized Students into Small Pods
To ensure in-person learning was available to every child and students were connected wherever they were, CARE’s visionary leadership created pods and set them up around the building in safe spaces.
Owl cameras were purchased for each grade so teachers could give dynamic instruction across the pods wherever the students were seated. Each week the students alternated between the classrooms and the gym pods so the students were getting direct instruction from the teacher every other week. Daily virtual tutoring was provided by intervention specialists for students who were experiencing learning struggles.
Deployed “New” Technology
Teachers and students quickly changed their interactions to accommodate a new platform, Schoology, which is difficult even in “normal” circumstances and they have continued to manage their work to ensure a seamless transition whenever needed.
And if they win the $1 million Prize?
Winning the STOP Award would allow CARE to expand its permissionless and outstanding education to include a 3 and 4 year-old program and increase current numbers. Their “new” pre-kindergarten program would allow students to have daily exposure to reading and fidelity to a program not otherwise available in the community. In a state where sustainable public funds are awarded for educational opportunities like this one, expansion for learning communities like CARE should be a national imperative.