Erase the Gap Gives Mentoring and Academic Support to Homeless and Foster Youth

With help of a grant from technology giant Cisco, this Saturday learning program provides high quality math, English, digital literacy, and social and emotional learning enrichment to students within the Mount Pleasant Elementary School District.

Students range from the K-5th grades and come from multiple schools within the district.

This program focuses on students who are behind in grade level, many of whom are homeless and foster youth, and looks to get them up to speed.

There are two 1.5-hour sessions: one time slot for K-2nd graders, and one for 3rd-5th graders.

Each session is in small group format, with a handful of students per tutor.

There are native Spanish speakers on staff to assist students who may need their help as well.

Sessions are divided up into approximately three equal parts:

  • Approximately half an hour on math and/or English,
  • Half an hour on digital literacy, and
  • Half an hour on social and emotional learning.

Innovative platforms and curriculum are implemented here. There are fun games where students must solve challenging math problems to progress, interactive tools from Google to learn about internet safety, and more.

Digital literacy topics cover not just how to utilize technology in the classroom, but how technology is a critical part of everyday life, from traffic lights to communication.

Social and emotional learning complements these topics by giving students a chance to learn skills regarding how to cope with their situation.

Currently, it also teaches skills on coping with the social isolation that we are all having to deal with during the pandemic.

The older students complete an assessment prior to beginning tutoring. This creates a benchmark of their current skills and abilities.

Each student’s progress, both academically and in engagement, is tracked each week.

BATA staff have recently implemented physical notebooks into this program, to help alleviate “Zoom fatigue” amongst the students.

Tutors also facilitate short yet educational breaks where the students watch funny animal videos or create digital artwork.

The students are able to interact with one another during these pauses and build supportive relationships and communities within the program.

With your help, and generous donation, we can Erase the Gap and give all kids a better chance to succeed.

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