Ashley has always been passionate about empowering students and contributing to the academic and public health communities in which we work. Lit by a burning frustration at the lack of government and hospital provided educational services for students with chronic illnesses, she conceptualized GetSmart (GS). GS is a unique online/digital app that will work to connect those in need of academic direction for a variety of subjects, with a group of educators available at a moment’s notice, like an Uber for tutors. It gives students an ability to get help with specific subjects taught by qualified professionals who are able to provide one-on-one assistance. They will interactively knock out study sessions live on Skype or through our GetSmart app. Users will pay through the app for tutor support, but hospitalized users will be subsidized through a one-for-one app policy.
Impact of Hospitalizations on Education
Having a chronic illness brings with it many burdens. A study published by the American School Counselor Association found that an estimated 4.4 million chronically ill children experience some disruption to school due to illness, with 10% of chronically ill children missing more than a quarter of the school year. While chronic illnesses can vary in severity, and encompass a wide range of illnesses, school-aged youth living with these illnesses share the burden of attending school intermittently. Prolonged hospital stays not only affect a student’s academic progress, but their confidence and mental well-being. After a hospitalization, going back to school can be intimidating for many children, especially if they have been absent for an extended period of time. This may be increasingly difficult if they are returning with different needs than before hospitalization. By providing academic support to youth who are undergoing medical treatment we aim to ease the stress of meeting school demands and transitioning back into the school system. Our aim is to try and help alleviate the ones we can control by offering academic services that keep the student on track and give them a sense of control.
Section 504: civil rights law that ensures that children with disabilities have equal access to an education, and may receive accommodations and modifications to their education plan – including access to the curriculum.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): a federal law ensuring services to children with disabilities, governing how states and public agencies provide educational services to eligible youth ages 3-21.
With your funds, we can bring Ashley’s concept to fruition. We are still in the R&D phase of app development, and plan to assemble a dream team of the best experts, engineers, and educators to build the infrastructure of the app, set up the business and make her dream a reality.
I am interested in giving back to the community and enriching the academic environment for youth who, like myself, have experienced academic interruptions due to extended hospital and home-stays. The idea for this App was born at a time of personal adversity. I was in the midst of a 60-day grueling hospital stay and was losing hope, fast. Having recently graduated from Chapman University, I was grateful to not be missing class or falling behind in my studies as a result of my hospitalization. I sympathized with students who had to deal with both their illness and the stress of having prolonged hospital and home stays. During the two months I was admitted, I realized there was a dire need for educational support for those with chronic illnesses.