This week marks our eighth week of the school year--we are only three weeks away from the end of the first quarter! While scholars and staff alike are glad to be back in the building and adjusting to our new normal, we recognize that the challenges caused by the pandemic aren’t going to disappear overnight. The stress, pressure, and isolation of the past 19 months are still affecting all of us, including our scholars. Schools across the country have seen an increase in violence and acts of aggression among students this school year.
Unfortunately, as a result, IDEA is not exempt from this behavior. Last Tuesday a scholar brought a weapon to school. Members of our skilled security team discovered the weapon during our standard arrival safety check, during which we thoroughly inspect all bags and backpacks. Metropolitan Police Department officers arrived quickly and removed the scholar from campus, while all other scholars and staff stayed safely in place during lockdown. Thankfully, no one was injured. The individual is no longer an IDEA scholar.
Preventing incidents like these, as well as fights that occur inside and outside the school building, requires the cooperation of all members of our community. IDEA continues to provide a safe passage bus to and from school each day to help scholars travel safely between home and school and avoid opportunities for altercations. We also have an excellent team of experienced mental health clinicians who are available to help scholars process and address a wide variety of stressors and mental health issues. None of us are in this alone, and we need everyone to help ensure an environment that is peaceful, safe, and conducive to learning. We encourage all scholars, parents, and community members to let us know about any conflicts in the community or potentially dangerous situations. We are all in this together and we must continue to help each other out.
Back to the business of learning, we are conducting interim testing this week to measure what scholars have learned so far and understand what support is needed to ensure scholars have mastered concepts and can move ahead. Last week our scholars across all four grades took the PSAT or SAT test to help prepare for college admissions.
As we prepare for career and college readiness, we have implemented a refined approach to our teacher assistant program at IDEA. Teachers are receiving support from our new cadre of scholar interns, who are assisting with schoolwide communications. Scholar interns are juniors and seniors who are spending free periods completing projects related to schoolwide initiatives. Scholar interns are receiving hands-on school administration training while also earning half an academic credit toward graduation requirements.
Additionally, we are excited about the return of sports to IDEA, and are proud of our flag football team, which finished its regular season undefeated and begins the playoffs this Friday as the #1 seed. Congratulations to our scholar athletes!
As always, I appreciate your support and welcome your questions.