AmeriCorps members serving with Teach for America – Ohio serve for two years and teach in low-income schools. Members go above and beyond traditional expectations to help their students achieve at high levels in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton. They also are responsible for increasing academic achievement of the 7,900 students they teach. We heard from Teach for America – Ohio Executive Director, Holly Trifiro, on how the first quarter of this school year has gone. “As we close out the first quarter of this school year, it is clear that teachers are facing unprecedented challenges. As students returned to classrooms this fall, teachers operated with a heightened emphasis on safety and critically evaluated classroom layouts, procedures and activities to ensure the wellbeing of their students. Managing these considerations, quarantine protocols, and the impacts and uncertainty of a third school year under the pandemic has placed additional strain on teachers, students and their families- bringing a need for mental health and wellness supports into sharp focus. And as disruptive as the pandemic has been, it has also created space for exciting innovations and the creation of more accessible and flexible learning environments. Corps members and alumni educators have taken the lessons learned from a year of designing rigorous and engaging virtual and hybrid classrooms to inform the types of learning they’ve been offering in-person this year. Check out what this looks like in action below!” Teaching remotely for a year taught corps member, Yamilex Lanzo (Citizens Academy East), to think creatively about how to use tec hnology in the classroom. In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, she took her students on a virtual trip to where she grew up in Puerto Rico. "Morning meetings are the perfect opportunity to connect with my students. During this time, we discuss features that makes us unique. We kicked off Latinx Heritage Month by taking a virtual trip to my hometown aided by Google Earth. Students were able to visit different places from my childhood such as my middle school, high school, college, and beaches, as well as learning a little about Puerto Rican culture" explained Lanzo. First year corps member Jaclyn Lankford (Dayton Leadership Academies) recognizes the importance of building strong relationships with her class, especially after such a disruptive previous academic year. She takes time to conference with each student individually to discuss their progress, goals for the next quarter, and plans to achieve their mid-year goals. This also gives her an opportunity to ask questions and check-in on her students' overall wellbeing during this challenging time. Traveling for field trips can be challenging given this year's varying safety protocols, so alumna Shayla Ivezzy (Global Ambassadors Language Academy) decided to bring the field-trip experience to her students. She organized for children's author, Stacy C. Bauer, to chat with her third graders via Zoom about her books and the process of being an author. When teaching virtually, alumna Johanna Froelicher (Cincinnati Public Schools) had to find creative ways to share books from her classroom library with her students. Her solution was to link read-alouds to a QR code that students could scan with a phone or tablet to access the texts digitally. She has continued to use this technology since returning to in-person teaching by showcasing an audible bulletin board. Each month students can select one of the featured texts by scanning the QR code to read or listen to the story on their classroom iPad. Pictured here are the texts Johanna selected to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month. AmeriCorps members across the state continue to impact their communities, despite the hurdles the pandemic throws at them. To learn more about Teach for America – Ohio and other Ohio AmeriCorps programs, click here .