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BOBBY LOPEZ — Plan for your children’s future by helping them grow academically

It was March 2020 and we had just finished our spring break. I remember that it was Sunday, and we were all thinking about plans for the upcoming week. There were lots of discussions about the COVID virus and many area schools were thinking about closing or working remotely.

It is now March 2021 and a full year has gone by. The COVID fright is not as strong as it was in the initial days, mainly due to the number of available COVID vaccinations and accessibility to them.

One thing that continues to be frightening is the overall decline in student achievement. Academic skills, especially math skills, have taken a very deep dive and it is alarming to think about the future of all our students.

Professional athletes have had to adjust their daily lives during the pandemic, but their goals have remained the same. They strive to be the best in their sport.

Take the Super Bowl, for example, and Tom Brady. He was able to take his team and continue with his outstanding passing abilities despite any hurdles including the pandemic. He proceeded to practice, refine his skills and work hard.

Why should we tolerate our students to continue to decline in their educational achievement?

What is often the case is that these academic regressions are more significant in low socio-economic neighborhoods. What is expected for the future of these students?

We all have our expectations, and we all want what is best for each student. The Bob Hope School continues to have high expectations for every one of our students. Our ultimate goal is to get them admitted into college.

Colleges and universities have started to extend their opportunities to underrepresented minorities, many of whom are first-generation students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. These colleges are now offering and using an early admissions process as a means of attracting students who wish to attend.

Some colleges have even broadened their outreach to bring in a more diverse student population. One example is Penn State, which has partnered with community-based organizations that advocate for underrepresented students in hopes of enrolling them.

William R. Fitzsimmons, a dean at Harvard University stated, “… there is a greater ethnic and greater economic diversity in early pools these days” that have been accepted into college.

What does it mean to be admitted early? At the Bob Hope School, we are excited that we have now broken the glass ceiling by having one of our students admitted to an out-of-state university, Stanford University through the early admissions process.

Even though this admission is for a “full-ride scholarship,” we still felt that there was far more we could have done in a “normal school year” for our student. While we have had students accepted into state universities such as University of Texas, Texas A & M University, the University of Houston, Lamar University and Lamar State College-Port Arthur, we are excited that we have moved into the next level.

With the educational slide that we are all experiencing, it is important to note that students, unlike those of us who already have a college education, need to continue to build their skills to get the best education possible. When one thinks about comparing the haves with the have nots, the haves are usually more advanced in their reading and math skills.

Laura J. Colker, in an article in Teaching Young Children, notes that students by the age of three, from low socioeconomic backgrounds, have a deficit of over 30 million words in comparison to wealthy children. It is always an uphill battle but one that needs to be fought regardless of what the surroundings may be.

Please plan for your children’s future and make certain that they grow academically. Like Tom Brady, ensure that they practice, refine their skills and work hard. Do not let a day go by without having your children learn something that will benefit them in the years to come.

Dr. Bobby Lopez, CEO, has served as superintendent of the Bob Hope School since 2010. Contact him at bobby.lopez@bobhopeschool.org or 409-983-3244.