COVID-19 has put schools to the test, so Indianapolis-based education nonprofit The Mind Trust and United Way of Central Indiana are stepping up to help Hoosier students. The organizations have announced plans for Indy Summer Learning Labs, a free summer educational enrichment program for students who have struggled during the pandemic.
Organizers say the in-person instruction is designed to accelerate academic achievement and address lost learning opportunities resulting from the healthcare crisis.
“If you think back 13 months ago, in the middle of March, schools were literally asked overnight, to completely overhaul how they tried to educate students,” The Mind Trust Chief Executive Officer Brandon Brown said during Inside INdiana Business. “And the initial research over the last 12 months says that students across the board have lost several months of learning.”
Brown says students of color lost up to a year’s worth of learning. He called it a “moral imperative” to help students make up for the lost time.
Forty-six organizations and schools across Marion County will serve as Learning Lab sites with enough spots for 7,000 students.
“With not having access to the internet, to not having the help that they need to resolve technology issues, it’s really a differentiator,” said United Way of Central Indiana President and CEO Ann Murtlow.
Murtlow says the summer school program has not only short-term interests but long-term educational goals.
“What we wanted to do here was to really address an acute need created by the pandemic, but also create a high-quality program that could then be used as an accelerator for learning going forward,” said Murtlow.
The labs are a collaboration with schools, districts, community organizations, and higher education institutions and will provide in-person and virtual instruction to students entering grades 1 through 9 in the 2021-2022 school year.
Each site will host the Indy Summer Learning Labs for five weeks, from June 21-July 23. Students are required to attend all five weeks of the program.
Click here to learn more.