Taylor Ramsey is the Executive Director of OneGoal Metro Atlanta, one of our College Access Partners. Prior to this role, Taylor served as VP of training and support at Teach For America, including working in close concert with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to serve summer school students and training more than 1,800 teachers. As a first-generation college student, Taylor knows the power of a postsecondary opportunity and is honored to lead OneGoal. Taylor is also mom to Ananth.
What have you been hearing from students and families?
In the early days of this crisis, students continued to ask the very practical questions that any college bound student has: “How do I get my transcripts? How do I continue with FAFSA verification? What if I haven’t heard back from a college yet?”
Now, students are mourning the major rites of passage they are missing (prom, graduation, the last day of senior year). One student shared, “I feel a deep sadness at not being able to say goodbye to my friends and teachers – they’ve done so much for me.” Our students are experiencing real grief and loss.
I asked students what they most need, and one APS student shared without hesitation: “I need hope.
I will be devastated if college doesn’t open in the fall and I don’t know what I’ll do.”
This experience should cause us to ask why postsecondary attainment is so hard in the first place. OneGoal’s mission is to close the degree divide in our lifetime, and this pandemic should lead us all to ask if we are doing all we can to realize this, fast enough.
How have OneGoal teachers and program directors responded to the changes?
Well, first, let me take a moment to wish our OneGoal teachers and all teachers a happy Teacher Appreciation Week
Our teachers are managing their personal and family needs while adjusting to distance learning. Our program team stepped up to convert curriculum to an online format and help students on the final steps of enrollment and financial aid
Teachers have continued to work with students 1:1, attend online trainings and check-ins, and ensure this crisis doesn’t knock students off their postsecondary paths. I’ve watched students join their OneGoal class from their kitchen tables, cars, bedrooms – often with siblings and parents listening in, in the background. Despite obstacles, students are showing up so that they can continue to support one another through this challenging time and remain on their postsecondary paths.
To read more from Taylor, click here.