Starting a school had always been a dream of Michelle Love-Day. The fear of opening a building and wondering if she could fill it paralyzed her from starting it. But then Covid-19 shut schools down nationwide and civil unrest grew so much that she knew something had to be done.
RISE Academy began in June, 2020 after the back to back senseless murders of Black men and women. After Michelle took her children on a run for Ahmad Arbery, followed by a dinner time discussion of safety in the home and Breonna Taylor, and finally, explaining why a grown man, like George Floyd, would call on his mom before being killed, a wave of frustration grew within Michelle.
After silencing her social media and listening to God, the one thing that kept echoing within her was, “you have to educate the children. It’s what you’re called to do.” Thanks to witnessing the success of virtual learning was possible – Michelle started building what a virtual school would look like for students, Black Students. She wanted them to feel empowered, not defeated, and ready to stand tall in a world that seemed determined at making Black people feel less than their true worth. As a teacher, she knew that knowing where you came from and the shoulders on whom you stand, was key to being able to walk into any Board room, classroom, or meeting where they would be the only Black person. Knowing their Black History, all of it, would be crucial for these students. The only history they hear about is Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and Harriett Tubman, and Black people are so much more. Kings, Queens, navigators, inventors, creators…
RISE Virtual Academy is a place where students learn their Black History, their role in their community, their worth, beauty, and #blackgirlmagic and #blackboyjoy. Students meet weekly for up to 2 hours, in grade level groups, with a Black, licensed teacher. Last year, they followed a curriculum called “The Historic Journey” and in their second year, they are learning about the Black Diaspora, a curriculum written by Michelle and the RISE teachers.
Michelle Love-Day has been an educator for 20 years. She received her Bachelors in Education (K-8, Minor In Spanish), and Masters in Reading (K-12) from Bowling Green State University (Ohio), and a Masters in Education, Leadership, and Policy from the University of Utah (Utah). Her second language is Spanish and she studied abroad in Alcala, Spain. She taught in North Carolina for 3 years until relocating to Utah in 2005. She was a 2nd grade teacher, Literacy Coach, Principal for 7.5 years, and Associate Director of Educational Equity for 4 years. In March 2020, she began as Consultant for Jordan School District in the Language & Cultures Services, Teaching and Learning Department.
For more information on Michelle Love-Day and Rise Academy, visit https://www.risevirtualacademy.com/. On Instagram, go to @m.love_dayconsulting and @risevirtualacademy.