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California Program Helps Students Navigate Remote Learning Struggles

The Emily Shane Foundation's SEA Program works to support students who struggle in mainstream classrooms during the pandemic.
Posted at 11:12 AM, Sep 23, 2020

Same problems, new location.

"These are children who were already at a bit of a disadvantage and struggling. The online learning makes it even more challenging for them," Ellen Shane, Founder of the Successful Educational Achievement Program, said.

Which is why Ellen Shane is reworking her program to fit the pandemic.

"I've learned, you manage with what resources you have, and you make things happen," Shane said.

Founded in 2012 to honor her late daughter Emily, who had struggled in mainstream classrooms, the Successful Educational Achievement Program pairs university student mentors with under-served middle school students in need of some academic help in California. The kids pay the mentors back with one good deed for every session... like maybe helping clear the dinner dishes or lugging in the groceries.

"There's sort of these kids who fall outside the box I call it, like Emily. And they're in this gray area where they don't need an IEP or special education. But they do need a kind of intensive and individualized support in order to allow them to succeed."

So far the program has helped more than 700 students. Takeya Byrd is one of them.

"When I'm actually in school, it just be a lot going on," Byrd said. "Because it's like, like you said, I would forget everything that I remembered."

"I had to be sure that it was going to work in a virtual setting," Shane said. "It's very different than how we would arrange or start things up compared to previous years."

And while adults like Shane figure out how to help these students, Byrd says it falls on the students to put forth their best effort.

"Just try to be focused in like, focused in the moment while you are getting help. Because, you know, you never know what might happen when you go back home, or we go back to school the next day. So just be focused and try to do the best you can."