August 20, 2020 Edition

In this Issue
Webinar: Youth Tech Mentors Bridge Schools and Families

Webinar: The Power Schools Bring to the Last Days of the 2020 Census

IDRA Valued Youth Partnership Operating with Virtual Adjustments for COVID-19

IDRA Provides Bilingual Books to Young Learners in Southwest ISD to Diminish Digital Divide Effects Exacerbated by COVID-19

Free On-Demand Webinars on Equitable Practices for Online Learning
More resources and trainings for teachers, school administrators, families and communities are on our Learning Goes On website. See Spanish-language version of this edition.
Free Webinars

Wednesday, August 26, 6:00-7:30 pm (cst)

The shift to virtual learning brought on by the pandemic hits families with limited resources particularly hard. At the same time, students miss out on chances to practice leadership when they are schooling from home. 
In this webinar, meet teens and college students who have been helping families and their children navigate technology for school. They will share their ideas for how schools and communities can engage youth while also providing much-needed tech support in their family engagement work this year.

Thursday, August 27, 2:00-3:00 pm (cst)

This webinar aims to mobilize the education community to complete the census. Due to COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau extended operations to October 31, 2020. But the Census Bureau suddenly announced it was rolling back operations to September 30, cutting a month of much-needed time to achieve a complete and accurate census. 

In this webinar, we will contextualize the 2020 Census and its timeline, discuss efforts over the past year, review completion data, and provide a toolkit for effective census outreach in the last month of operations.


For over 40 years, IDRA has demonstrated that the school-family-community triad is essential to holding on to students and ensuring their success, especially during a crisis such as this.  
As students return to school after the extended time away, it will be more important than ever to strengthen the school-family-community dynamic in order to reconnect with students, especially those that have been harder to reach during this time of distance learning. 

The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership has provided leadership experiences for students all over the country during the past 35 years. It increases student's connectedness, academic achievement, self-efficacy and self-esteem by placing students in leadership positions. The program consistently improves socio-emotional skills through the cross-age tutoring component. 

During this time of uncertainty, social-distancing and economic adversity the Valued Youth Partnership's key component of valuing youth's gifts and burgeoning social skills can provide leadership experiences as schools adapt.

IDRA is taking steps to implement modifications to the program suited to each schools' requirements and available tools. As we move to adapt the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership to the new context, the program stands ready to apply modifications as needed by each school district's requirements and needs.

IDRA recenly delivered 5,500 Semillitas de Aprendizaje bilingual storybooks for families with preK and kinder students in Southwest ISD to diminish digital divide effects on young learners and build literacy skills. The district is committed to supporting its young English learners and families as this new school year begins. 

Southwest ISD Superintendent Dr. Lloyd Verstuyft (shown at the  right in top photo) was on hand to receive the books. He said: "This generous donation of books will provide parents an array of engagement activities for our prekinder and kinder students while enhancing learning opportunities for our young learners. Thank you to IDRA and San Antonio Area Foundation for their donation to SWISD."

For many years before the COVID-19 outbreak, IDRA has worked with schools and communities to close the digital divide for the most vulnerable students. With assistance from the San Antonio Area Foundation and the United Way of San Antonio, IDRA provided its popular Semillitas de Aprendizaje bilingual storybooks to families who have no access to online education in Edgewood ISD in May and Southwest ISD in August.

"IDRA knows from our research on best practices in early childhood education that hard-copy books and interactive learning best build solid literacy foundations for young learners," said IDRA President & CEO Celina Moreno. 

"We are proud to partner with the San Antonio Area Foundation to counter the devastating digital divide that has left this vulnerable population with little to no access to books or resources as schools scramble to find solutions."

"We celebrate the important role parents are playing to make distance learning work for children," Moreno added. IDRA provided over 1,000 sets of its Semillitas de Aprendizaje bilingual books to families in the Southwest and Edgewood school districts through the districts' food distribution, communication and paper-lesson delivery systems. IDRA also will provide webinars, classroom sets and teacher's editions to districts for use with students once school commences in the fall.
Meet the Semillitas de Aprendizaje Characters

Machaca is an ostrich who one day feels lonely because she has no one to talk to.

Margarita is a young girl whose artisan family teaches her the chaquira, the fine art of intricate beadwork.

Camelia learns about numbers and counting in a collection of verses and couplets about animals throughout her house.

Jesusita is terrified of spiders until her sister comforts her by reading a book with her.

Juanito is astonished when he believes he is visiting the circus for a second time and the animals are all mixed up.
Twin sisters, Clara and Carla, creatively complete their geometry homework assignment at home.

Esperanza learns about the seasons while visiting the zoo with her mom.

Pancho, a bear, and his friend Paz, a bunny, learn about first aid kits.

Tomás and his family travel to visit his grandmother in the country.

Jorge is a miner who discovers a brilliant and very valuable gold nugget.

Semillitas de Aprendizaje offers a unique bilingual set of early childhood materials.The classroom set includes
  • Teacher Guide (Manual de Maestro)
  • 10 Big Books (abridged)
  • 10 Storybooks (unabridged)
  • 15 Math Books
  • 20 Cartitas - Letters Home, with activities related the Semillitas de Aprendizaje stories
  • Storytelling & Storyreading Videos DVD
Learn more about IDRA's Semillitas de Aprendizaje curriculum
On-Demand Webinars
Webinar series

These free webinar recordings are available for viewing at your convenience.

Equitable Practices for Teaching Online
Digital Divide: Connectivity, Infrastructure and Devices
Tools & Tips to Alleviate the Homework Gap
Facilitating Online Math Sessions
PBL at Home & Across the Curriculum
ELAR Series:
* Journal Writing About the Present for the Future - ELAR Webinar Part 1
From Journaling to Personal Narratives - ELAR Webinar Part 2
From Journaling and Personal Narratives to Letter Writing - ELAR Webinar Part 3

Chief Science Officer Students Determined to Promote STEM Despite School Closures
Teaching Science in Virtual Learning Environments
How a School District Tackled the Digital Divide
Teacher, Parent and Student Perspectives on Using Google Classroom Effectively
Student Perspectives on a Changing School Climate
Nurturing Students' Hearts and Minds
Partnering with Families to Reopen and Reimagine Schools
Getting Schools Ready to Support Students Facing a New World of Challenges
The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent private non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring educational opportunity for every child. IDRA strengthens and transforms public education by providing dynamic training; useful research, evaluation, and frameworks for action; timely policy analyses; and innovative materials and programs.
IDRA works hand-in-hand with hundreds of thousands of educators and families each year in communities and classrooms around the country. All our work rests on an unwavering commitment to creating self-renewing schools that value and promote the success of students of all backgrounds.