COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted our community. African American families are experiencing the toughest battle with this global pandemic and its unyielding threat. Right now, parents are up at night weighing two options: Try returning to school and hope for the best, or elect for online learning that continues education while keeping their children safe.
At Phalen Leadership Academies (PLA) we stand with our families whatever they choose, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to support our scholars. PLA has a long and strong history of serving scholars in A-Rated schools across the city, but this health crisis opened our eyes to the need to expand our model and extend our support to families across the state. Our children deserve more. Our families deserve to know that their scholars are cared for, safe and can continue to get a high-quality education. All of our Indianapolis campuses (downtown and on the Far Eastside) will open Aug. 11 with enhanced safety precautions, enhanced technology, as well as protective gear for teachers and scholars. Our local campuses give our current parents the option to return to campus or learn online. We have also launched a third option that is designed for all Indiana families — Phalen Virtual Leadership Academy (PLA Virtual). We’ve already welcomed many to our online tuition-free school serving Indiana scholars grades K-12.
With the tagline Empower. Accelerate. Achieve, PLA Virtual works to accommodate families who are more comfortable with learning at home than returning to a traditional school environment while still offering strong social and emotional support. Every single day, students at PLA Virtual can log in from their own home and receive engaging classroom instruction from live, state-certified teachers. Unlike other online school options, our scholars will also have the opportunity to participate in clubs, field trips, sports and extracurricular activities at any one of our local PLA campuses. We will offer food assistance that can be accessed through our local campuses as well.
In these uncertain times, many of the schools in our communities already have the challenge of inadequate funding to support quality education. This school year, that challenge is coupled with the additional strain of implementing safety precautions strong enough to prevent a surge of COVID-19. How each school handles a return to campus will determine its success in the coming months. For parents who don’t like the odds of their current school, we are extending a special invitation to enroll at Phalen Virtual Leadership Academy by visiting PLAVirtual.org. Your scholar only needs daily access to a computer or iPad. Our phenomenal teachers and staff will take care of the rest.
School starts Tuesday, Aug. 11. Whether you are a part of the PLA family or simply a part of our wider community, we wish you and your families the absolute best this coming school year. As we often remind our scholars, challenges may come but how we respond to challenges makes all the difference. Let us respond to the challenge of COVID with knowledge, understanding and the power to make the best decisions for our community and our families.
Earl Martin Phalen
Phalen Leadership Academies (PLA) is a nonprofit turnaround school operator with a network of high quality, tuition-free public and charter schools across the United States. PLA currently serves nearly 10,000 scholars in 22 schools across the country and has transformed multiple F-rated schools into A-rated schools.