Amite High Magnet School

AMITE---During the pandemic, for safety, students were intentionally isolated as much as possible. Our students attended school in this manner for the better part of 2 years. Amite High Magnet School Parent Teacher Organization recognized that this separation has a lasting effect on the students. The students are more reluctant to work together, they are more socially isolated even as the isolation precautions are phased out, and continue to feel pandemic related stress. The trauma of the pandemic will have lasting effects.

Amite High Magnet School partnered with its PTO to implement two activities/changes to help students immediately and long term. Over Spring Break, the AHMS PTO kicked off the renovation of the school’s library into a collaborative space that will allow and invite students to reconnect with each other. M-O Interior Exterior Renovations, LLC partnered with the PTO by completed the work at a reduced cost as the company also recognized the importance of the space and the vision that the principal, Dr. Travis Ford has set into motion for the school.

The library is being converted from just a repository of dusty books to a space where students can meet up, study, complete activities that are enjoyable to them, and meet with the school mentor, who also resides in the library. The mentor is constantly on the lookout for warning signs of symptoms of depression, anxiety, self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

On April 29, AHMS and its PTO hosted a spring fling event specifically so that students could make those immediate physical reconnections and connections. This event sets the tone of emotional climate going forward. Students need this time to rekindle friendships. A year without parties, gatherings, playdates, and hangouts has left students yearning for connection.

Both of these events were made possible by a grant from the Louisiana Department of Revenue to the PTO for the benefit of populations that have been affected by COVID-19. The AHMS PTO was awarded a grant from the Nonprofit and Small Business Assistance Program. The purpose of the funds are for nonprofits to assist individuals who were impacted by COVID-19 in the following areas: food, employment assistance, and education assistance. The funds have helped and will further help the educational disparities felt by AHMS students. Particular disparities are student engagement, attendance, social/emotional wellness, and learning loss.

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