In the spring of 2020, George Washington High School was awarded a grant by the School Nurses of California Foundation to support English Learner students with low (<85%) attendance. English Learners account for about one in four SFUSD students and high school students who come to the U.S. are especially challenged in learning English. With this grant, a 10-member team was formed. The team includes school staff across different departments, with teachers, school counselor, administrator, psychologist, nurse, and interpreters, plus a member from the District's Central Office. The team and their work is dubbed The Empathy Project.
The Empathy Project identified 15 English Learner students and reached out to them and their caregivers via Zoom twice this fall and once this spring to learn more about their distance learning experience. The calls have helped staff learn the value of building relationships with parents, and that ParentVue and Language Line are valuable tools for building those bridges.
The Empathy Project is an example of how departments can come together to support SFUSD’s focal populations. With a new grant from the George Washington Alumni Association, the work will continue in the next academic year.