Some 750 kindergarten through fourth grade students will benefit from summer instruction thanks to a three-year grant award totaling $675,000 from the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program. It may be extended for two additional years for a total of more than one million dollars!
“Cedar Rapids has a proud tradition of local partners collaborating with the school district to benefit students,” noted Dr. Brad Buck, Superintendent. “This is another exciting example of how community and school district resources can be leveraged to increase the likelihood of even better outcomes for our students.”
The new summer program – Kids on Course University – is being developed with the Zach Johnson Foundation and modeled after its Kids on Course program. Last summer, Kids on Course University was held at five District elementary schools. The reading results demonstrated the effectiveness of the model:
- 76% of the students who attended Kids on Course University reduced or eliminated summer learning loss.
- 46% of the students who attended Kids on Course University grew their reading skills, beginning the new school year ahead of where they had finished the previous school year.
“The kids who attend our summer program start the school year stronger in reading, and we want that same success for even more children in Cedar Rapids,” said Zach Johnson, PGA TOUR golfer and President of the Zach Johnson Foundation. “This expansion of Kids on Course University is an opportunity that combines fun and learning for children who need the boost most."
The Zach Johnson Foundation is contributing $96,375 in start-up funds to help launch and staff the program. Other community organizations partnering with the school district on the summer school program are:
- Horizons: A Family Service Alliance will provide USDA-approved breakfast and lunch each day ($115,000).
- Kirkwood Community College will provide adult literacy and adult education program navigators to present at Parent Night events, as well as ongoing support for guardians to increase their skills ($24,000).
- The United Way of East Central Iowa 55 Initiative will coordinate a Pen Pals for all third and fourth graders ($15,000).
- The United Way of East Central Iowa Youth Achievement Corps will fund 12 AmeriCorps members to serve as classroom assistants ($17,360).
- The Cedar Rapids Schools Foundation will provide funds to hire summer librarians at each location ($12,000).
"Thanks to this collaboration, we are on pace to serve more children over the summer than ever before,” said Karl Cassell, CEO of Horizons: A Family Service Alliance. “We're planning on providing 40,000 breakfasts and lunches to all 750 students across the school district.
The six-week summer camp will be held July 5-August 15, with classes from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Participating students will be identified from 15 of the District’s Title 1 schools: Arthur, Cleveland, Garfield, Grant, Grant Wood, Harrison, Hiawatha, Hoover, Kenwood, Johnson, Madison, Nixon, Truman, Van Buren, and Wright.
Classes will be held at five “Super Sites”: Cleveland, Garfield, Grant Wood, Harrison, and Hiawatha. District school busses will transport students to their site. The District will hire 72 summer staff members for the program. Certified teachers will provide instruction in reading, writing and mathematics to classes of 15 students. The day will also include enrichment programming and field trips, as well as breakfast and lunch provided by Horizons. The total cost for the program will be $846,295, or $1,128.39 per student.
Participating students will be invited into the program using data from the Winter FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) screening tool.
“This is our second year of using the FAST system,” explained Val Dolezal, Executive Administrator of Preschool –8th grade. “It has helped us identify students who have greater need in the area of literacy. Teachers during the school year provide interventions after doing further diagnosis of student learning needs. Using this same system to identify for the KOC University will allow us to continue to support and provide further instruction for our struggling readers who may fall behind once again over the summer.”
For information on the Kids on Course Program visit http://kidsoncoursecr.com/.