The COVID-19 outbreak dramatically influenced the educational sector as the remote studies, cancellation of learning activities, and lack of direct communication occurred due to the massive health care challenge. The changes influenced students’ academic progression, most of whom are young and need constant assistance that was eliminated from their lives as the pandemic developed. Indeed, sociological research identified destructive consequences such as losing interest in education, falling grades and decreased attendance. If not prevented, these outcomes can lead the young generation to difficulties building a career or obtaining degrees of higher education.
The gap that appeared in the young students’ willingness to be actively and continuously involved in the educational process is especially visible among middle and high schoolers. Their curriculums commonly do not contain strategic planning to keep the children engaged in the learning process, and the surveillance of educators is significantly lower than, for instance, in primary schools. The urgency to address the challenge necessitated the stakeholders of Charleston County to develop a program that can decrease the pandemic’s severe influence on young students’ education. Activities to increase the interest through the providence of vital materials, mentorship opportunities, and encouragement for personal growth were created and launched. The plan also included strategies to involve parents and assist the families in adopting the inquiry-based learning methods. The importance of the initiative is that middle and high schoolers need the boost to keep learning and aspiring for a successful future, and mentorship and demonstration can help them deal with studying in uncertain times.
The initiative’s strategic plan includes the preparation, execution, evaluation, and adjustment sectors for making the project’s realization efficient. Before the implementation, schools, teachers, and participants were selected and asked to provide constructive feedback throughout the project’s activities. As mentorship was a significant part of the strategy, training the educators and supporters was another crucial preparation aspect. Execution included buying and providing the schoolers with the necessary learning sources and materials and making the agreements with schools to support the initiative and inform about any challenges. Furthermore, a consultancy with parents was performed through the Q&A sessions, seminars, and direct communication with the mentors (Allison & Kaye, 2011). Addressing the anxiety and other stressful events related to the COVID-19 pandemic was also included in a strategic plan as schools’ medical workers received the handouts and additional training as part of the initiative.
Even local schools are different, and the students there have diverse needs and backgrounds; thus, evaluation and adjustment became crucial parts of the initiative. For instance, high schoolers refused to apply for the mentorship opportunity, finding it unnecessary, forcing the organization to update the program and encourage them to receive assistance. The tendency to students’ denial of educators’ support was noticed during the evaluation performed as feedback gathering and helped timely adjust the strategy and activities.
The initiative’s objectives were to offer the best academic support to Charleston middle and high school learners by revitalizing the reading culture and drawing in new knowledge among them. Moreover, the goals included raising parents’ awareness of the young students’ challenges and needs and helping the government optimize their financial and educational programs for difficult times such as the pandemic. The strategic plan involved multiple groups of people and improved learning opportunities for middle and high school learners via mentorship and demonstration.
Mission, Vision, Value Statements
The initiative aims to motivate young minds to keep learning and create the appropriate environment to prepare them for the challenges in an uncertain world. It is complicated for the youth to set the priorities right, and they tend to select achieving short-term objectives rather than the long-term, life-changing ones. The strategic plan’s mission is to develop the notion that education is vital for their future, and their decision-making must not severely affect their studying.
The strategic plan’s vision is to Engage, Encourage, Equip, and Empower (abbreviated as 4Es) the lives of middle and high schoolers of Charleston, SC. The 4Es must be achieved to meet the program’s goals, and the young students must be engaged in addressing each part through complying with their own dreams’ determination. The initiative involved the education professionals from Charleston, dedicated to the ensure that the local schoolers have sufficient academic opportunities to build the career they want.
Participation, diversity, and inclusiveness are the main commitments and beliefs used for guiding the initiative. The first addresses the importance of contributions of local communities and organizations, and the strategic plan developed by a youth for young people appreciated the involvement of the related professionals. Diversity is a crucial aspect that provides the initiative with equality of valuing every participant’s thought, experience, and perspective. Interaction with people of various backgrounds also prepares the children to communicate and build relationships in their after-school lives. Inclusiveness intends to ensure that young schoolers have equal rights and opportunities to be included in educational and social activities that are fundamental for child development.
Organization Profile and History
The idea to develop the initiative occurred in May 2020 when the pandemic peaked and disrupted all schooling processes. Indeed, young schoolers abandoned their academic obligations as the facilities closed, the lessons were remote, and the assignments were poorly controlled. The educational systems suffered from the lack of preparation to give classes online, and curriculums required emergency adjustment. The students needed to develop new studying habits and force themselves to learn in a highly distractive environment. Their performance and concentration skills decreased, and the need for taking action urgently became vivid. Based on the willingness to prevent the loss of interest in learning and to pursue high educational goals, the project was created.
The organization of young people who have recently received academic degrees and learned the importance of education through their experiences was established to realize the project. The group has no other initiatives; however, it has already received support from local schools and academic communities. If the strategic plan for schoolers achieves success and recognition, the organization plans to apply for the non-profit status and official registration.
Summary of Core Strategies
The core strategies were developed to achieve the project’s objectives and address the mission, vision, and values; thus, the tactics involve all participants and stakeholders to make the realization successful. The plan encourages families, schoolers, educators, and communities to take action to prevent the young generation from losing interest in learning and academic work. Consequently, the strategies are to influence children through mentorship, demonstrations, resources providence, and communication, and each aspect has its own development blueprint and activities for reaching the goal. Furthermore, the operations are based on the inquiry-based learning method, where the learning technique starts by posing problems, questions, or scenarios, rather than simply portraying a smooth path to knowledge or presenting facts (Khalaf & Zin, 2018). The approach has been selected because it allows the creation of adjustable core strategies and simultaneously addresses the activities for multiple participants.
Program Goals and Objectives
The program’s mission is to develop the notion among middle and high schoolers that education is vital for the future; thus, the goals and objectives are related to achieving the change in the young students’ minds. The interest in academic work decreased since the pandemic disrupted the work of schools, yet the organization believes that revitalizing the reading culture and drawing in new knowledge can inspire the schoolers to keep studying. The objectives also include offering support for Charleston’s educational facilities and providing the participants with a sufficient range of materials and resources. The organization also considers diversity among schools’ values, children’s backgrounds, and teachers’ perceptions of the initiative; therefore, the actionable plan must be periodically evaluated and adjusted to the changes.
Another crucial goal to impact the young people’s perception of academic work also enables the organization to use mentorship as the primary strategy. Schoolers and their parents need support and consultancy during the uncertain times of pandemics, and the program’s objective is to help them deal with the challenging circumstances. The educational industry, in general, was unprepared to close the schools and teach remotely, and the initiative’s objectives can help retrieve sufficient information about social and learning tendencies among middle and high schools. Goals are developed to efficiently use all the sources available and ensure that students succeed in their high school studies and proceed to colleges and universities to pursue their careers.
Allison, M., & Kaye, J. (2011). Strategic planning for non-profit organizations: A practical guide and workbook. John Wiley & Sons.
Khalaf, B. K., & Zin, M. Bt Z. (2018). Traditional and inquiry-based learning pedagogy: A systematic critical review. International Journal of Instruction, 11(4), 545-564. Web.