A Change of Direction During Social Distancing

Dear Seeds Family,

Over the course of the last two weeks, we’ve seen a significant amount of change unfold as the world, our country, and local communities, have battled with an unprecedented pandemic. Unfortunately, Seeds of Literacy is not immune to its effects.

This fiscal year, with the full support of an expanded, newly invigorated and engaged Board of Directors, Seeds embarked on an aggressive and ambitious growth plan. We restructured, adding to our staffing needs, and began building corporate support. We were set to do what we’ve always done – deliver free, one-to-one tutoring, to those that need it most – But we were positioned to do it better than ever before.

Then the world as we know it changed.

What was unthinkable just days ago has become a new reality, at least in the short-term. COVID-19 didn’t just disrupt travel, retail, and dining out. It has decimated access to on-site learning for all.

Seeds has had to pivot our focus, and re-imagine what one-to-one tutoring could look like in a time of social distancing. We’ve had to remain nimble in our response to the increasingly fluid situation and increasing guidance from the government, always keeping the health and safety of our stakeholders top of mind.

While many organizations worked from home, my team remained (safely) together this week to develop a strategy to help us weather this storm. I couldn’t be more proud of their commitment to our students. To that end, I want to share what we’ve been working on while the classrooms are empty:

  • Temporarily closed both sites at the guidance of the Governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Health
  • Initiated a disinfection protocol
  • Began an outreach campaign, calling each of our students, each week
  • Provided our students with hard-copy and digitized packets to continue their work at home
  • Developed 3 options for students and tutors to continue working toward student learning goals: 1) tele tutoring 2) live video lessons and 3) video tutoring. These options allow students with even the most limited access to technology to remain engaged with our tutors and staff.  
  • Developed and executed training session so our tutors can adapt to the new methods of tutoring
  • Reinforced the availability of third-party online learning resources, such as Khan Academy, to our students

The program staff is working tirelessly to adapt to our changing landscape, while maintaining fervent hope that this epidemic will pass quickly, and without the loss of motivation for our students.

To protect the future of the organization, I also had to make a difficult financial decision. Following the March Board of Directors meeting, we reduced our staff from 20 to 8; only a few program staff remain. This allows a necessary redirection of funds to identify and support any technology enhancements required as a result of our unexpected change of direction, and ensure Seeds remains viable after the pandemic.

Our mission remains the same — providing personalized education so that adults can succeed in their communities. But how we need to deliver that education must look different for now.

Thank you for your support during these challenging times, and thank you, as always, for being a valued member of the Seeds Family. Now, more than ever, we must take care of ourselves, and one another. Be well.  

Bonnie Entler President & CEO, Seeds of Literacy