Alpha’s first promise to students and families is that kids will love coming to school. COVID-19 presented us with a new challenge: how can we maintain love of school when kids can’t come to school?
Our strategy for maintaining students’ love of school was outlined in our note to parents after the onset of the pandemic. Our approach was built on two pillars:
- Let students design their own schedule
- Leave academic coaching to students’ Guides, who held 1:1 video chats with every student every day
To measure our success or failure, we did what we always do: we asked kids directly for feedback on Alpha’s program.
Our survey to kids is straightforward: we ask them a series of thumbs-up or thumbs-down questions about whether they love school, love their Guides, love their workshops, and love other aspects of the Alpha program.
In pre-pandemic times, students on average gave their Guides a 95% “love it” rating. During the pandemic, 98% of students reported loving their daily 1:1 chat with their Guide.
Students’ love of school was similarly resilient. During pre-pandemic times, the average thumbs-up response rate to the question, “Do you love school?” was 96%. During the pandemic, 81% of students reported loving Alpha Anywhere.
Students who reported not liking Alpha Anywhere (remote schooling) all had similar reasons for giving it a thumbs down:
“I like Alpha Anywhere but I’d much rather work at school”
“I don’t really enjoy Alpha Anywhere because I don’t like working at home every day.”
And some students asked the question we’ve all been asking:
“When will school return to normal?”
While the overwhelming majority of kids maintained their love of school while working remotely, in the end, there is no replacement for the self-agency and freedom Alpha students are given in the school building. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in August.