Grants fund school’s new pre-K, resources for virtual learning
Monarch Academy Annapolis received two competitive grants from the state of Maryland: a $600,000 Prekindergarten Expansion Grant funding the school’s new full-day pre-K and a $173,997 Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund grant supporting the school’s efforts to reach students and families and build community during virtual learning.
“We’re excited to make the most of these grants. Launching a pre-K is vital to Annapolis families and creates access and opportunity for student learning for our youngest learners during this challenging time,” said Rachel Amstutz, principal of Monarch Academy Annapolis. “The grants help us ensure our students continue to receive a strong education and essential social-emotional supports, while our teachers receive training and preparation for implementing distance learning.”
The Prekindergarten Expansion Grant, awarded by the Maryland State Department of Education, funds 60 income-eligible seats for 4-year-old students. The program launched in September. Students may apply for available seats. The program will equip children with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for success in kindergarten and beyond. Monarch Academy Annapolis offers an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, which challenges students to think critically and take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues.
The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund grant supports resources and activities benefiting students, families and educators at Monarch Academy Annapolis during distance learning. Funding allows the school to purchase supplies for students and additional tools and training for teachers and administrators, including staff attending a Harvard University course this summer on teaching and learning in a distance learning environment. It also supports projects promoting collaboration between teachers, school counselors, and families.
Awarded by the Maryland State Department of Education, the grant channels federal CARES Act funds to schools “that demonstrate unique strategies to address academic accessibility as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant recipients have presented creative strategies to support disengaged students, students with disabilities, teachers, and families in need,” according to a press release from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office.
The Children’s Guild Alliance in collaboration with Towson University’s department of special education will present the inaugural Kids First National Conference on Oct. 26 and 27, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT each day. The virtual conference will equip educators, child-serving professionals and families with strategies to support and engage children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we grapple with how to deliver education and care for our children and families in a COVID-19 world, we must rethink how we do our work and transform the way America cares for and educates its children,” said Andrew Ross, president and CEO of The Children’s Guild Alliance. “This year demands transformation and innovation, our focus at the Kids First National Conference, where we’ll present strategies that address the needs of the whole child.”
The conference will feature child and educational experts, including the keynote speakers:
- Robert Jackson will present “Power of the Educator: Becoming Culturally Aware of Staff and Students.” Jackson received the 2019 Motivational Educator of the Year Award and has written six books, including his latest book, “Becoming the Educator They Need: Strategies, Mindsets and Beliefs for Supporting Male Black and Latino Students,” released last year. An expert in teaching cultural diversity, restorative practices, socio-emotional learning and retaining troubled students in school, he delivers keynote addresses and workshops across the country.
- Joe Sanfelippo will present “Hacking Leadership: Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love.” Sanfelippo is the superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, which was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education. He co-authored “The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story,” “Principal Professional Development: Leading Learning in a Digital Age,” and “Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love.”
Other speakers include career child advocate Frank Kros, Stephen F. Austin State University Assistant Professor Jim Ewing, veteran administrator and author Shauna King and educator Steve Parese.
The conference will offer 150 workshops and panels to address challenges, innovations and transformation strategies in serving the whole child. Interactive sessions will cover topics on leadership; education; juvenile justice; mental health; and family, children and adolescent issues. Networking events and opportunity to review sessions on demand will also be offered.
In addition, The Children’s Guild Alliance will host a preconference from Oct. 18 to 25 with workshops and keynote presentations about innovation and transformation. Speakers come from organizations including The Children’s Guild Alliance, Zoom, Four Rivers Media, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Oral Roberts University.
Participants who register for the conference’s Leadership Track will join other leaders and sessions will present innovative ideas and promote reflection to help participants move their organizations forward in both the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 landscapes. Leadership Track participants will develop a work plan to drive transformation in their organizations, schools, districts, communities, states or nationally. Leaders will gain insight and ideas from outside of their fields, generating solutions from multiple perspectives.
Conference participants will receive a certificate of attendance and Category I social work continuing education units. For more information and registration, visit KidsFirstConference.org.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought many challenges to life as we know it. Our new issue of Transformation highlights how The Children’s Guild Alliance has responded and continues to put kids first during these unprecedented times. We share stories about our staff and how they developed new ways to deliver education, services, and operations. Learn how our educators adapted to distance learning and connected with students and personalize their virtual learning.
Join us as we reimagine The Kids First Celebration as a virtual event and redirect the funds raised to support our Chromebook campaign. Learn about our new Chromebook initiative established to provide every student with the technology they need to access online learning.
Of special interest is our recent launch of food distribution centers in Annapolis and Washington, D.C. Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on food insecure communities, we have pivoted our services to ensure the families and communities we serve continue to be fed.
We invite you to read this issue of Transformation and support and celebrate the very real ways The Children’s Guild Alliance is stepping up during these difficult times to meet the needs of the whole child.