Haverhill Public Schools and Haverhill YMCA were able to expand summer education opportunities with $246,900 in “Summer Step Up” money, geared to pre-kindergarten through second grade students who had little or no classroom experience because of COVID-19.
The money came through a partnership with the state Department of Early Education and Care and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley to give extra support to young learners entering school in the fall. The grants were part of more than $7 million spread across 30 school districts and 84 non-profit organizations.
“We were pleased to provide schools and community partners opportunities and funding to make these important activities happen this summer for students in all grades, at no cost to their families,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.
Summer Step Up is a new program designed to accelerate learning during critical summer months for young children who have had limited access to in-school experiences due to COVID-19. In Haverhill, the money assisted 134 students participate in community-based summer programming.
Haverhill YMCA provided extended-day programming for Haverhill youth through scholarships for students entering kindergarten to participate in summer camp as well as for students of low-income households. Grants also supported increased training for early education staff and educators. Haverhill YMCA Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller said, “Partnerships like this are fundamental to broadening our reach and furthering our commitment to children and families in our district. We could not do it without this generous support and collaboration.”
State Rep. Andy X. Vargas said he hopes the summer boost helps make an “easier transition back to in-school learning for our students.” He also praised the Haverhill YMCA as “a great community partner, working in tandem with Haverhill Public Schools to provide youth development and quality education to our young learners.”
Haverhill students also participated in a weekly Literacy Lunch in partnership with Haverhill Promise, designed to strengthen their literacy skills and boost school readiness.
The Department of Early Education and Care is working with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley to administer $10 million in grants for Summer Step Up programs through the fall.