By Dylan Deprey
Summer vacation brings tons of fun for kids, but it can also bring anxiety as the new school year approaches. From the playground slide to the water slide, school is the last thing on their minds. So, when the “summer slide” kicks in, some students are stranded as they work to catch-up to their classmates.
The “summer slide” leads to educators spending the first three to six weeks re-teaching material from the year before. Some students, especially low-income youth, lose around two months of their grade level equivalency during the summer. This can be especially true as the second half of the 2020 semester had educators scrambling for out-of-the-box solutions, as students attempted to stay focused during online Zoom chats.
While the entire world is trying to figure out how to safely send children, educators and staff back to school during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Teach for America and Ubuntu Research and Evaluation have come together to close the achievement gap for some of Milwaukee’s youngest learners.
Ubuntu Research and Evaluation is a professional learning community run by Black women. The organization utilizes liberation and beloved community frameworks to evaluate, facilitate and strategize with individuals, organization and communities.
“Too many Milwaukee area children are already experiencing the frustration of serious reading delays,” said Linetta Davis, education strategist with Ubuntu. “Multiply this to mandatory nationwide school closings, the anxiety of the pandemic and the uncertainty of the times, and what we have is an unprecedented mass of Black and Brown children slipping through the cracks, left behind, completely and totally unprepared for a successful future.”
Two-hundred Milwaukee families with children in pre-k through second grade have an opportunity to get an edge on retaining information and preparing for the new year. Youth will be able to login to Waterford.org, an early education non-profit software that aims to build education equity for underserved communities.
“With 15-30 minutes a day, Waterford.org’s proven system can help us avoid this iceberg of an educational deficit,” Davis said.
The program is available on iPads, laptops and desktop computers. The personalized learning program includes 7,000 activities that encourage a unique learning experience.
Students will also work with a certified teacher to address difficult areas two times a week. Parents will also receive the Waterford Mentor program. They will be able to monitor their child’s progress and receive helpful tools that will assist in continuing their child’s offline learning.
“We are honored to help serve the children of Milwaukee during this great time of need,” said Grace Brown, Implementation Specialist with Waterford.org.
Families can register via the following link: https://forms.gle/d424MGbf4RiFLteJ6