Amidst the landmark 19th century buildings and framed by the nearby Rocky Mountains of Colorado, is Cowell Elementary School, one of many public schools facing the new reality of the changes brought about by COVID-19.
“Cowell is a safe, respectful community that fosters excitement for learning and holds high expectations for all who enter our doors,” says Abbe Montoya, Cowell’s school social worker. “We have been educating students in the Villa Park neighborhood [of Denver] for decades, to prepare them for success through middle school, high school and beyond.”
In Denver, 72% of all students in the school district are eligible for free and reduced price meals, but for Cowell Elementary, the need is even greater. According to Abbe, 90% of students at the school will qualify for the program this year.
Abbe tells us that the pandemic has made things even harder for the Cowell Elementary families. “Our community has many challenges, especially in this time of COVID-19. Many families have lost their jobs, or had to stop working to stay at home with their children [because of the pandemic]. I could go on and on, but a new coat means a student not having to deal with the weather. Food/groceries, home essentials would then not have to take the backseat to getting their child a new coat.”
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