This week marks one year since PUENTE transitioned to distance learning and remote operations. I vividly recall gathering all our staff for a final in-person meeting last March. As a team, we committed to keeping services available and accessible throughout the pandemic.
For students and families residing in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, the impact of COVID-19 has often been painful. PUENTE is committed to commemorating the sacrifices everybody has made and honoring the lives lost.
Since the start of the crisis, PUENTE has adapted to help our students and families respond to the pandemic by extending additional services to meet their critical needs.
For PUENTE, high-quality distance learning has included not just classroom instruction but also robust enrichment and support services such as special education, case management, arts and fitness workshops, family engagement events, and school-wide celebrations. PUENTE has provided ongoing tech support and has ensured one laptop for every student to close the digital opportunity gap. Distance learning attendance rates have been consistent at 96%, despite the challenges.
In addition to our “grab and go” student meal program, PUENTE has been distributing hundreds of pounds of food each week to our community members in need, in partnership with White Memorial Medical Center. In addition, through free community meetings, PUENTE is providing access to critical resources on topics including mental health and vaccine access during COVID-19. PUENTE has maintained our “whole student” approach, educating each student within the context of her or his family and community.