ReSchool, a Denver-based non-profit organization focused on designing a more expansive, equitable and accessible education system with, and for, learners across Colorado, is announcing efforts to address learning disparities in Denver based on new research that found students with low access to summer camps and classes are more likely to be Black and Latino, live in homes with lower median household incomes and have parents with a high school diploma or less while students with the best access to summer activities are more likely to be white, live in homes with higher median incomes and have college-educated parents. The research, along with ReSchool’s partnership with families through its Learner Advocate Network, uncovered challenges to access that exist partly due to proximity of programs, high costs, and a lack, seemingly, of diverse options. The research study, “Access to Out-of-School Resources in Denver,” was conducted by the University of Washington’s Data Science for the Social Good (DSSG) program and the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) and used data from Reschool’s Blueprint4SummerCO website along with other sources.
Based on this research, ReSchool is leading the charge to expand access to quality, diverse summer learning for all kids by building awareness of Blueprint4SummerCO as a resource for families, leveraging scholarship money raised by ReSchool and available through providers, and partnering with a growing number of learning providers across the metro-area to amplify activities that integrate culture and history into their programming.
Blueprint4SummerCO is a free, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly website brought to Colorado by ReSchool that offers an organized, searchable way to access thousands of summer activities and learning opportunities. Camps and experiences listed on Blueprint4SummerCO span various communities in the Denver Metro area, for kids age 3-18, and in multiple interest areas, cultures and traditions. For example, Visions Performing Arts is dedicated to the preservation of African American performing arts and celebrating African American History for future generations and Museo de las Americas builds cultural competencies and unlocks new understanding of academic content through summer programming focused on the arts and cultures of the Americas.
“Our goal is to provide a space where all families can access information about summer learning opportunities that fit their desires and needs while working to make many of those opportunities more accessible through scholarships,” said Selamawit Gebre, who leads the out-of-school work at Reschool Colorado.
Blueprint4SummerCO lists a number of low-cost and free options for families on the website to ensure that cost isn’t a barrier to access. In 2018, over half of the listings on the site were free or low cost and over half of the summer providers offered scholarships. In addition, ReSchool, distributed more than $50,000 in scholarships in 2018, paying for or significantly reducing the cost of out of school experiences for 195 kids. ReSchool is on track to distribute more than $50,000 in out of school scholarships, most of which will go to summerexperiences, again in 2019. Reschool is seeking further impact by partnering with organizations whose summer scholarship funds sometimes go unused to ensure more youth from low-income families know about these opportunities.