by Christine Salinas, Manager of Grants and Communications

Parents everywhere are wondering what school will look like this year and worried about the challenges and pitfalls of distance learning. As Pivotal scholars prepare to start the new school year remotely, we asked how they feel about distance learning. Because of their own unique experiences in the foster system, many prefer it over in-person instruction. Here are five things we learned:  

1. You can live anywhere. 

For many young people from foster care, securing stable housing after they emancipate from the foster care system is a challenge. The high cost of living in Silicon Valley makes this especially true for Pivotal scholars. With remote learning, youth can live anywhere, continue taking their coursework towards a degree, AND keep their Pivotal coach. That’s a win-win! 

2. You have a more flexible schedule during the day. 

For most of our college scholars who work part-time or full-time to make ends meet, night school is the only option they have towards earning a degree. Remote learning creates a more flexible schedule because a lot of the classes can be done in smaller chunks of time throughout the day, rather than in one continuous block of time at night away from home.  

3. You learn more career readiness skills. 

As classes transitioned to 100% remote learning at the end of the 2020 school year, youth built up their business computer skills. In the days of in-person instruction, many of our youth used their phones to access email and communicate with instructors, but with online classes, phones offered limited capabilities for essay writing, Zoom lectures, and homework. For many scholars, distance learning accelerated how quickly they improved their computer literacy.  

4. You may have more comfort learning online.  

Some Pivotal high school scholars are enrolled in Opportunity Youth Academy, a blended learning program of teacher-directed instruction and online coursework. Some students can struggle with the transition to 100% in-person community college classes. Distance learning eliminates that pain point, making their transition to college a little easier.   

5. You have more time for family. 

Our scholars work hard and have limited time for family while they juggle school and work. With distance learning, students can spend more time at home parenting their young children or caring for elderly or sick family members.  

Having a computer is a basic need to succeed in an online learning environment. Team Pivotal is sourcing laptops to get our students the resources they need to stay in school and reach their academic and employment goals. If you or your company would like to help us give laptops to hard-working foster youth in our community, please reach out to us or consider donating to our Emergency Assistance Fund. Thank you!