Parenting, Pregnant Teens Empowered By iLEAD Empower Generations Charter School
SCVi’s “Eye on the Valley” show on KHTS recently featured the director of iLEAD Empower Generations Charter School for parenting and pregnant teens.
Located in Lancaster, Empower Generations has about 50 high school learners working toward their diploma, with their babies welcome to come to school for playtime while their parents learn, according to Director Malaka Donovan.
“When we look at the model of our school, we’re not a traditional seat-based, time-based setting,” Donovan said. “We are flexible with our kids. We meet them where they’re at.”
Donovan noted that the school’s goal for the learners is the same as the students’ goals prior to them becoming parents.
“When they have babies, we look at it as, you still have the same goal, we’re just going to alter your plan,” she explained. “(It’s) not just getting a diploma, but also, what is your path post-graduation? That’s where the word ‘empowerment’ comes from. How are we empowering them to take their next steps successfully?”
Credit recovery is offered by Empower Generations, in addition to personalized projects, internships, service learning projects, career and technology education and more.
“We’re really looking at learning in a way that matters for kids,” Donovan said. “So let’s look at financial literacy, let’s look at civic responsibility, let’s look at engineering and design. Let’s look at things that are fun and cool for our kids.”
One project by a learner focused on pediatric visits with her son, giving her the opportunity to study what medical instruments the doctor used and what laws exist to protect pediatric patients, according to Donovan.
“Before, … she just received what they were saying and didn’t really have any questions to ask or was understanding what was going on,” Donovan said. “So she felt more empowered to ask questions when she didn’t understand during the doctor visits.”
Passion and personality surveys are also regularly offered to learners to help them bring their passion to their education.
“What do you love to do? And we’ll help you create a high school education out of it,” Donovan said. “If it’s sports, if it’s makeup, if it’s music — we can make it work… Let’s run with it.”