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Dear CORE Champion,

      As the school year gets underway our CORE team has been busy preparing to welcome Scholars back for programming and start their next year of learning on a path to success. We are committed to keeping each Scholar on track as they continue to meet their individual goals while navigating the ever-changing environment that has become our new normal.  With last week’s virtual COREientation and next week’s first full week of programming, we have been buzzing with activity as we re-engage with our full CORE Community and Tomchin Cohort of Scholars. Grab your coffee and danish, today we have a lot of good news to share with you - including an update from one of our CORE Alumni.
IT's COREientation TIME! 
Each year COREientation plays a vital role in starting off our programming by engaging Scholars in the expectations and culture that bind together our CORE Community. While we couldn’t gather in person this year, skipping this essential event was never an option and our team worked together to create our first ever virtual COREientation! Delivered in both English and Spanish during four different time slots between September 8th and 10th, our virtual gathering was designed to engage with all of our families and Scholars to ensure maximum participation.  

This year our Scholars reviewed and signed our newly updated “Formula for Success” - a series of seventeen expectations that form the basis for our culture of hard work, integrity and kindness. Our formula is affirmatively focused, using positive expectations that the Scholars focus on carrying out, rather than a code of conduct based in policing “don’ts.” This new approach grew out of a series of restorative justice based trainings that were held for our programming team. Our Programming Director, Renisha O’Donnell, explains that she “..really believes that kids don’t learn from punitive action. I feel it’s more important to challenge our youth to think critically about what they did, why they did it, and how to repair it.” Click the picture above to read more about CORE’s Formula for Success and see the guidelines we’ve developed to keep our Scholars accountable for themselves, their peers, and our community.
For each of us 2020 has been a demanding year, bringing about unprecedented change and unexpected challenges. This has been especially true in the field of education, where the quick transition to distance learning upended years of established practices and created a major shift in the daily lives of students and families. Earlier this summer our community partners at Opportunity 180 worked with the Teaching Policy Fellows at Teach Plus Nevada to compile the 2020 Educator Perspective Report. The report gathers perspectives from educators across our state on current issues such as access to technology, the social emotional needs of students, and addressing the learning loss caused by school closures last spring. At CORE, we are excited to see that there are numerous areas where the viewpoints expressed in the report are in alignment with our existing philosophy. In particular, the call to “incorporate more intentional social emotional learning for students” along with “relationship building with students and families” are integral aspects of the CORE program. As educators from across our state advocate for some of the practices CORE provides, we are reminded that now is a critical time to take what is working for our Scholars and bring it to as many students as possible. 

The report concludes by reflecting on the difficult task of addressing learning loss from missed instruction in the last school year, while also resuming and moving forward with learning for the current grade level.  CORE has recognized this challenge among our own population of Scholars, many of whom have expressed frustration with the difficulty that comes from the more independent and solitary nature of distance learning instruction.      As the new school year starts we are expanding access to one-on-one tutoring and encouraging our Scholars to act with determination as they work to overcome learning gaps and new challenges brought on by changes in instruction delivery. By tackling these changes head on we are hopeful that our current cohort of Scholars will develop skill sets in resiliency, adaptability, and self-determination that will serve them well beyond our present moment no matter what the future may hold. 

As you know, overcoming the digital divide and keeping our Scholars connected for success is one of our primary goals for the 20/21 school year.  Last week we were able to carry out this mission for our Class of 19’ Alumni Scholar, Lisbeth.  Through a generous donation we purchased a new Lenovo laptop for Lisbeth to use as she tackles the next phase of her educational career as a CSN student. A personal computer is an indispensable tool for any college student, but with the overwhelming majority of courses now being conducted online it is a necessary access point to education. Lisbeth plans to pursue studies in Nursing and is most excited for her Photography and Criminal Justice courses this fall.

CORE continues to support the growth of young Scholars through these unprecedented times because of champions like you!  Thank you for recognizing the value of investing in the future of our community one Scholar at a time. 

We are just getting started for the school year, and looking forward to a new year full of virtual and socially distanced programming. Click the links below to follow our social media accounts and stay up to date as we do good things together. 
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