Transformative, Evidence-Based Ideas

Pods in Action: The Central Florida Urban League

Case Study: A microschool model designed to uplift Black communities

Covid-19 hit central Florida’s tourism industry hard—initially forcing it to a standstill—and left many families facing a new reality: supporting their children in their at-home learning while staying afloat economically. The Central Florida Urban League (CFUL), which focuses on combating the social, racial, and economic challenges that African American communities face, believed remote learning would exacerbate educational and economic gaps.

Recognizing both the need to stave off academic losses and the opportunity to implement a long-term option for achieving better academic results, CFUL opened Whitney M. Young Academy, a microschool designed to meet the individual needs of low-income, African American students.

Key Lessons
  1. With partial funding coming through state tuition vouchers for low- income students to attend private schools, the CFUL microschool model aims to close the achievement gap by addressing students’ individual learning needs in very small schools.
  2. The CFUL microschool focuses on personalized learning and development, through an online learning platform that allows students to address individual academic needs and learning coaches who are trained to support both academic and social-emotional needs.
  3. The two-generational approach includes job training for parents and caregivers, which aims to support entire families’ access to economic prosperity.

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