Students sat two to a table, separated by plexiglass and wearing face masks.
An 11-year-old girl took a math test on decimals. A 9-year-old boy solved a word problem that directed him to calculate the attendance size of the Super Bowl. His 7-year-old sister doodled in a notebook during a break from her virtual second-grade class.
The students are part of a learning hub inside the Greenleaf Gardens Apartments, a 493-unit public housing community in Southwest D.C. Worried that students were falling behind academically after the coronavirus pandemic forced most classes online for the city’s schoolchildren, residents at Greenleaf and other public housing developments approached the nonprofit GOODProjects about creating the hub, said Darius Baxter, the organization’s founder.
The Greenleaf hub, which educates 22 students and operates from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days, may be one of the only opportunities for students to spend time in anything close to a classroom setting this academic year. Baxter said many of the parents who send their children to the learning would not allow them to return to in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic, even if they had the option.
Many of the students or their family members have preexisting health conditions such as asthma, which could put them at greater risk of becoming severely ill by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Baxter said. Some students live in multi-generational homes and fear infecting older relatives.
“We’re locked in for the long haul,” he said. “We’ll be here until the end of the school year.”
Baxter’s nonprofit is dedicated to lifting families out of poverty. During the pandemic, Baxter said the organization could not address families’ needs without helping them through distance learning.
Read DCist's article "A Learning Hub In D.C. Public Housing Is Helping Students Navigate Distance Learning," featurng the District of Columbia Housing Authority.