One World has responded to the pandemic with flexibility and innovation not once, not twice, but three times.

1: 2020 One World Virtual Challenge

When COVID-19 forced One World to cancel its afterschool One World Academy in March 2020, the organization launched online office hours and Zoom classes so students could finish their preparations for a One World Virtual Challenge. It was a smashing success. More than 3,000 One World community members voted on students’ work. Students ended up with learning experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

2: 2020-2021 Pandemic Response Project

After the virtual One World Challenge, the organization met with school partners to develop a Pandemic Response Project to ensure we were 100% remote-learning ready for the start of school in the fall of 2020.

One World built slide decks to support teachers’ instruction of each and every One World lesson virtually. We added engaging videos for students to reinforce the topics they studied. Student journals were upgraded to support asynchronous work supported by parents. We also updated our research database to address the pandemic, racial inequality, and other relevant topics for today’s students.

The organization’s Pandemic Response Project was another strong success. In the face of daily challenges, our teachers reported that more students were engaging with their writing in our programs than ever before. They wanted learning that was directly relevant to their lives. With students hungry for learning experiences powerful enough to transcend the pandemic, One World’s 2021 Virtual Academy and Challenge had one of its largest student cohorts ever, and their work was featured in a Washington Post column by Theresa Vargas.

3: 2021-2023 Pandemic Rebuilding Plan

During the fall and winter, One World’s leadership analyzed feedback from our partner schools and studied ways the organization, could re-engage students who stopped learning during the pandemic. One World’s multi-year Pandemic Rebuilding Plan was born. The five cornerstones of the plan are:


  1. Strengthen and expand in-school K12 partnerships
  2. Grow afterschool programming
  3. Study adult learning and conduct proof-of-concept study
  4. Create student-facing digital tools
  5. Expand professional development training

The flagship effort this year is focused on expanding its afterschool One World Academy to create a new G8 Academy to re-engage high potential yet low-performing eighth-graders in its partner schools. We know that if they start ninth grade on time and prepared they will be four times more likely to graduate from high school.


Stay tuned for stories about our work with students just waiting for caring educators to draw out their brilliance and rekindle their passion for learning. We fully expect that the fourth chapter of One World responding to the COVID-19 crisis will be the best yet, and just about anyone on the DC education scene will tell you, the first three chapters have already been very good ones.