On Wednesday, July 25, 2018, over 40 community partners representing over 30 organizations met at Chapter 510 and the Department of Make Believe for the Summer Quarterly OLC Meeting.
Below are some highlights!
Panel – Summer Learning: Three organizations show how they keep students engaged.
Julie McCalmont of OUSD, Marián Gutiérrez of the Aspire Education Summer Reading Buddies Program, and Bernadette Butler and Benjie Achtenberg from Aim High each presented about how their work keeps students engaged throughout the summer. It was evident that although all three are very different organizations and work in different ways, student engagement and student experience are at the forefront.
Julie shared that OUSD’s summer focus is generally summed up with the phrase “first experiences and second chances,” working with students new to OUSD programs (such as rising Kindergarteners, newcomers, or refugee students) and students who need extra support outside the typical school year (students who finish the school year behind or need a second chance on a class). Marián spoke about the high school Reading Buddies Program and how powerful connections are made between the high schoolers and the students (who are typically PreK-3rd graders in their program). She also discussed the importance and the challenge of engaging high schoolers from the same communities as the children in the program. Bernadette and Benjie spoke about how important it is for Aim High to engage students in their program from day one, and how that can be challenging given such a short amount of time over the summer. But with an academic program that is specifically tailored to middle schoolers, and extracurriculars unlike a traditional school schedule (think Zumba, Ultimate Frisbee, or filmmaking), students jump right in.
All four panelists spoke about the importance of providing students an opportunity to experience something new and different over the summer, giving students the chance to build on what they’ve already learned in school, and/or helping students become prepared for the following school year.
“I loved the speakers and the different perspectives they took while at the same time they shared a sense of excitement, passion, and motivation”
You can find more information about the organizations here:
Summer Mini Grants Table Conversations
Each summer, the OLC gives out Mini Grants to organizations that work to promote and support student reading and family engagement over the summer. These grants range in amount up to $1,000 and are meant to help organizations bring literacy and books into traditionally non-academic or out-of-school spaces.
Three Summer Reading Mini Grants recipients joined us at the OLC meeting: Wanda O’Neil from Maya Angelou Library and Literacy Center, Kacie Stratton from Harbor House Ministries, and Lucy Rios from Brighter Beginnings. They each held “table conversations” and shared with participants about their organizations and their experiences in the Mini Grants program. The groups also had the chance to share with each other about various student engagement and community outreach strategies, as well as other best practices.
You can find out more information about the Summer Mini Grants here.
You can find out more about the organizations that facilitated here: