In the spring of 2020, the faculty of Kalos Academy mobilized to address the challenges for First Gen, Low Income and underrepresented students caused by the Coronavirus. Inspired by the urgent needs expressed in this article, we came together to discuss how we could help. As a result of that meeting, we came up with this action plan, outlining the services we can provide and the basic timeline for establishing our organization.
We believe that faculty are capable addressing the following problems in unique ways. We look forward to partnering with other organizations that address these problems with their own excellent solutions, but we believe faculty are particularly capable of addressing the curricular components of each of the following:
1) College Enrollment Retention. Job losses will impact so many workers, and many first-gen students from low income families may not be able to enroll in the fall as they had planned if their parents are financially strapped. While many inspiring organizations exist to get FGLI students to the doorstep of college, more will be needed now that entry through that door is being delayed.
2) COVID Learning Loss; College Skills Acquisition. High schools have been shut down in the spring. Universities may go online in the fall. And some FGLI students may not be able to enroll at all. Any organization that mentors these now-unschooled students during this crisis should work with students to retain the academic skills they've already learned, and develop college-level analytical skills that will give them a leg up once they enroll.
3) Soft Knowledge Acquisition. Research shows that first gen students often lack the tacit knowledge that the children of college grads already have: things like the meaning of a "major," how to register for the right classes, how to deal with the inevitable setbacks, and so on. By incorporating a team-tutoring approach, with current students to act as mentors, we hope to be able to narrow this soft skills gap.