The world has thrown the gauntlet for educators: Find new ways to engage students.
Ascend, Charlotte-based education technology startup, has thrown it right back.
Ascend creates goal-setting software for middle and high school students. During stay-at-home orders, Ascent launched a free program called Challenge Accepted!, a program that rewards participating students for performing simple tasks they can do while at home. Through the completion of these small goals, students earn points and a chance to win money for college scholarships. To date more than 2,500 students have participated in Challenge Accepted!.
“This is obviously a hectic and potentially worrisome time for students, parents, and educational leaders,” said Missi Rossi, Director of School & Student Success with Ascend. “With school closures underway and uncertainty around when schools may return to normal functioning, we at Ascend are hoping to do our part in maintaining student engagement in positive, healthy activities for the remainder of the semester.”
Students ages 14 and up are able to complete simple challenges and earn points which may earn them money for scholarships for college.
Two $500 scholarships are awarded each week. There are about 10-12 active challenges at a time and next week, and they aim to have a mix of challenges that support student’s mental, emotional, social and physical needs.
Making Comics, Writing Letters, Working Out and More
Examples of challenges include:
- trying meditation
- creating a comic about the student’s time at home
- touring the National Women’s History Museum
- doing an online workout
- writing a letter to first responders through Operation Gratitude
Winners from Charlotte
Two of the winning students have been from the Queen City.
Caroline C., a student from South Mecklenburg High School, states that, “I enjoyed the challenges to learn a new language and to draft a poem. They both gave me something to think about and truly put effort into.”
Hilda A, a student who found Challenge Accepted! through Wayfinders, shared insight into what many students are feeling during this unprecedented time.
“The time at home so far has been a little challenging. I’ve never done online classes before. It’s been manageable but I prefer to learn some subjects (like math) in person,” she says. “I help my nieces and nephews with their homework. I decided to participate in Challenge Accepted! because I have the time and opportunity to do almost anything right now. I decided to spend my time doing something fun that can help me in my college career. My favorite challenge was writing a letter to my future self because it gave me the opportunity to think about the next year before I start college. It was nice to reflect on what I’ve already accomplished and what I want to do in the future– who I am and who I want to become.”
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