Description of Organization
As a Title I public charter school, South Tech Academy serves the least affluent in South Florida: over eighty-five percent of the students are on free or reduced-price lunch plans. Many are first-generation U.S. citizens and will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. South Tech Academy was founded with the vision of preparing students for all aspects of life. South Tech Academy’s core mission is to graduate students prepared for work, higher education, and productive citizenship.
In 2021, a COVID-19 Grant of $5,000 was awarded to South Tech Charter Academy to support the purchase of various equipment for their Mental Health Initiative. The COVID-19 Impact: South Tech Academy serves a mostly impoverished and food insecure population. Due to COVID-19, federal funding for Title I schools was cut by 25%. Those budget cuts and the need to focus on materials such as cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer stations, and plexiglass dividers to ensure students could return to campuses left insufficient funding to support the adaptation of mindfulness strategies. When South Tech Academy needed to modify their mental health initiatives to adjust to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, they chose to include a permanent addition to their mental health initiative. Creating an outdoor meditation space allowed them to continue the implementation of mindfulness and meditation into the school day during the COVID pandemic.
In 2019, a grant was awarded for $2,500 to purchase supplies and instructional materials for the introduction of daily meditation and yoga practice into the English Language Arts and Social Studies classrooms. The program will be piloted in one ELA class and one Social Studies class with freshmen. These students will begin by learning about the basic rules and reasoning behind the practices, as well as an introduction to some beginner yoga and meditation skills. The program will then go from daily, 5-minute meditation exercises, to slowly introducing slightly longer meditation periods and more advanced yogic forms and patterns. When the initial program has been completed–and if shown to be successful—the program will be offered to all freshmen ELA and Social Studies classes the next semester, and then all departments.