Remote Learning Center at Main Street Academy Serves Students from Every WS/FC High School
By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
JANUARY 13, 2021 – Onadaeia Lyons likes coming to the remote learning center at Main Street Academy.
Lyons, who is a senior at Glenn High, wishes she could be going to school there.
“I am better at doing schoolwork when I am at school because the teacher is there,” she said.
Having to learn remotely for the present, though, the center at Main Street has provided a good alternative. For one, if she has a question, one of the teachers at the center will be there for her.
“I ask one of them, and they come over and help,” Lyons said.
When she has a question, chances are good it’s about math.
“Math – that is my worst subject,” she said.
Lyons is far more comfortable with such subjects as English. On her own, she writes poetry, in part because it gives her the opportunity to express her feelings.
“It’s like letting go,” she said.
Lyons also likes how peaceful it is at the center.
Other students at the center on the morning of Tuesday Jan. 12 also mentioned that they like the quiet atmosphere. Kevin Hernandez, who is a senior at Mount Tabor High, has two younger siblings at home. So working at the center makes it easier to focus on his school work.
“It’s a quiet space,” Hernandez said. “I can concentrate more.”
During a regular school year, Main Street is an alternative school where students in middle and high school are assigned so they can receive special support.
With students not being assigned to Main Street as they are during a regular school year, the remote learning center was established in September as a way to support high school students throughout the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system.
“They could come to Main Street and get additional help,” said Larry Barry, the school’s Administrative Support Assistant.
When a member of high school’s CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) team – or someone else at the high school – identifies a student who could benefit from the support they could receive at Main Street, they refer them to the remote learning center.
Since September, every high school in the district has referred students. Of the 174 referred to Main Street, 79 of them have taken advantage of the opportunity.
“Our average attendance has been 15 per day,” Berry said. “It has definitely served a need for the school district.”
To give students the flexibility to come at the time that works best for them and their families, the center operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We serve a lot of kids who go to work,” said Principal Ron Travis.
The extended hours make it possible for them to continue to go to school while helping their families, he said.
“We are fulfilling our promise of being an alternative even during COVID,” Travis said.
Either Berry or Principal Ron Travis opens the center. The other one comes later in the day and stays until closing. Teachers assigned to the center are scheduled so that a couple of teachers are there at all times.
On Tuesday morning, Lasaundra Siddle, a CTE (Career Technical Education) teacher, and Garrett Davis, the school’s Transitional Coordinator, were there.
“My goal is to create a relationship,” Davis said.
One of his students works in construction to help support his family so Davis keeps that in mind while doing all he can to support the student with completing his schoolwork.
“It’s up to us to reiterate how important school is,” Davis said.
Like Davis, Siddle focuses on establishing a relationship with each student.
“We’re trying to make sure they get exactly what they need,” Siddle said.
As part of that, they work to meet students where they are and to create a welcoming atmosphere – “making sure they know this is a place where they can come in and get everything done.”
With some students, an important part of supporting them, he said, is making sure they know how to use all of the technology associated with remote learning, such as Zoom and Canvas.
And they provide additional help as needed. One student taking a drafting class had to create, scan and send in a drawing. They did what was necessary to see that he was able to do that.
Meta Robinson, Marilyn Holder and Alma Boyd are among the other staff members who work at the remote learning center.
During these days of remote learning, most of the teachers and other staff members at Main Street have been assigned to other schools in the system. Some who are teaching elsewhere use their classrooms at Main Street for their remote learning sessions.
Ken Leak is one of the Main Street teachers assigned to another school. On Tuesday, he was in his classroom working with students at Northwest Middle.
Siddle and Davis said they are happy to answer questions that come up about subjects, and, when a question comes up that they aren’t sure how to answer, one of the teachers using their classroom to teach at another school can come in handy.
For instance, if the question is about math, they may check in with Kim Walker, a Main Street math teacher using her classroom to teach at another school.
With another subject, say, chemistry, they may check in with the student’s teacher at the home school, which those teachers support.
“They are very receptive,” Siddle said.
The teachers at Main Street then serve as a liaison between the student and the teacher at the home school.
Students coming to the remote learning center are served lunch if they want it. Lunches are prepared at another school. At present, they come from Parkland High.
The remote learning center is set up in the room that serves Main Street as both a gym and an auditorium so there was plenty of space for students to spread out.
On this particular morning, Hernandez was sitting at a table set up by the accordion doors that open into the cafeteria. He’s one of the students who juggles school with work. He has two jobs – one at a Chick-fil-A and one at a Dairi-O.
He has a car so he can drive himself to Main Street. Parents drop off some students. Others may take a city bus.
For Hernandez both college and becoming an entrepreneur are in his plans for the future.
Working at a table by an outside door was Tiana Patterson. As a freshman at Carver this year, she is one of the students in the system who has yet to be able to go to her new school.
Patterson likes coming to the remote learning center at Main Street. When she needs assistance, she said, the Main Street teachers are always helpful.
“They help you here,” Patterson said. “It’s quiet and laid back, and I can do my work.”
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