Xceed Preparatory Academy Featured on NBC News During Inauguration Day Events

The 2021 Presidential Inauguration will be one for the history books. Due to the global pandemic, the traditionally heavily attended events surrounding Inauguration Day were conducted on a much smaller scale or held virtually. But that didn’t stop Xceed Preparatory Academy (XPA) students and faculty from participating—or from receiving national attention for their efforts.

Cross-Campus Collaboration

“At XPA, we have talented educators in every position,” said Kenneth Bass, Head of School for Xceed Preparatory Academy – Weston. “Each of us are part of a long-term Professional Learning Community (PLC) in our academic discipline. This helps us increase our skills by staying up to date on the latest news and trends in the field of education and to also act as a sounding board and support for one other. As the Head of School serving on the Social Studies PLC, I had the opportunity to coordinate an Xceed-wide project regarding the Presidential Inauguration for all our students across our portfolio of schools.”

“We closely monitor the curriculum program to ensure students are receiving the same information in each class regardless of which campus they attend,” continued Bass. “This consistency of teaching and learning provides assurance that we are in alignment with our accreditation requirements. It also ensures that the crucial question in developing every lesson – what students are expected to know and be able to do upon successful completion – is at the core of our interaction with our stakeholders.”

Tying Into Current Events

Although many schools shied away from watching the Inauguration Day activities live because of the fear of political riots or violence, the Social Studies Professional Learning Community team felt students needed to learn about the real world.

“As a Social Studies teacher, I want to make sure that Civics is a part of every course,” Bass shared. “It saddens me to see what appears to be a general lack of knowledge about the historical background of the U.S. Constitution and the way in which the American system of government operates. I love using current events to bring these concepts to life for my students and provide instruction for them in real time. Every four years there is an opportunity to do so when a Presidential Inauguration occurs.”

This approach was heralded not only by the XPA community, but it also drew national attention from NBC News.

“When NBC got wind of the fact that not only were we showing the Inauguration live to all of our students, but that we had two days of activities planned, including a debrief session that parents were invited to attend, we were approached about having a reporter sit in on the hybrid class,” said Bass. “The national education reporter for NBC News, Erin Einhorn, was a virtual participant in our debrief and included XPA in not one, but two stories about what we did as a school.”

READ: Americans mark an unconventional inauguration as Biden ascends to presidency 

READ: ‘It was about unity’: Florida students watch inauguration

A partial screenshot of the January 20, 2021 NBC News piece featuring Xceed Preparatory Academy.

“These activities were developed to engage our students, real time, in a real-life event that is significant in all our lives,” said L D Anderson, Jr., the XPA Social Studies teacher who taught the Inauguration Day lessons and facilitated discussions. “I am an educator dedicated to maximizing each and every student’s educational experience. To truly maximize student learning, it is paramount I foster an environment that boosts students’ self-confidence and inspires achievement.”  

A Family Affair

“Due to recent events and the current tension filled political environment, I felt it was important to involve our parents in these Inaugural activities,” continued Anderson. “Understanding the sensitivity we may currently find in individual political perspectives, I wanted this activity to be a family affair. By making it a family affair, we were able to reassure parents that we are merely striving to spark students’ minds and enhance their conceptual thinking…and we are deliberately providing this spark without attempting to shape students’ personal or political ideology. Even more, I felt this was a great opportunity for our entire Xceed family to be the example of unity our children deserve to see.”  

Teaching In-Person and Virtually—At The Same Time

With the innate collaboration between all four Xceed Preparatory Academy campuses and sister school, Xceed Anywhere, the Inauguration Day activities were designed to include students learning on campus, at home and on the road.

“To achieve this goal, the Social Studies teachers in our PLC developed lessons that were implemented at each campus,” shared Bass. “I coordinated the information with each Head of School for use at their own campus and we made sure to include students learning virtually, because we operate on flexible scheduling.”

“With our Xceed model, teaching students on-ground simultaneously with online students is seamless,” added Anderson. “The brilliant flexible learning design of our school and our curriculum are perfect for the educational challenges our nation is facing as result of the COVID-19 virus. As such, I was able to seize this awesome opportunity to engage our amazing students in this historically significant moment.”

Lessons Learned

During the debrief, students both on-ground and virtually, discussed components and themes of the key Inauguration speeches. The exercise showed how easily students from different XPA campuses and grade levels could discuss current events in a safe environment, as many shared their personal thoughts. As student David Rodriguez was quoted as saying in the NBC News article, “It was about unity. That was one of the main points of his speech, that America is one country.”

We are proud of our students for addressing current events in a mature and respectful manner. Thank you to those who helped plan the activities and to everyone who participated!