YMCA EDUCATIONAL ACADEMY
SUPPORTING FAMILIES THROUGH REMOTE LEARNING
A YMCA Program in Support of Local School Districts and the Families of K-6th Grade Students in the Greater Nashua Region.
As a new school year begins and that school year looks different than any other, the YMCA is committed to providing families with safe and enriching child care while ensuring that students have support in any remote learning they are doing with their schools. The YMCA has been providing child care and summer camp programs to children since the middle of March in a safe, caring and responsible way and we are excited about expanding upon that work by equipping children with the tools they need to succeed academically and socially in this new environment.
REMOTE LEARNING… IN PERSON SUCCESS
During the Y Educational Academy students will have designated time to engage in remote learning with their schools. Quiet spaces will be provided for students to meet with their teachers, complete assignments and further their studies. Staff and volunteers will be available to help students with their remote work.
To enhance what the schools are offering, the YMCA is partnering with BellXcel to provide in-person curriculum using LitArt. Each day during the Brain Power Hour, YMCA staff and volunteers will lead students in fun, project based, grade appropriate educational activities in math, literacy and writing. This work will help students stay ahead throughout the school year.
YMCA Combines Childcare, Remote Learning with New Program
NASHUA – Back in March when schools closed, the YMCA initially had to stop their day-to-day regular operations.
YMCA CEO Mike LaChance said the first question asked was, “How can we support the community?”
“One of the first things that we did after closing their doors was launch a program designed for essential workers and first responders. That evolved into a program for even the older kids, the school-age kids,” he said. “The staff, right away, were getting involved in providing support with their remote learning that these kids were doing through their school district. So we had some early-on experience right from the start.”
Since that time, they’ve opened both their early education center and their summer camp programs, carefully following state guidelines and CDC recommendations as well as working closely with the Nashua’s public health department.
Those same guidelines will be used for the newly announced YMCA Educational Academy.
Last week, the ‘Y’ began registering children for this new program, which is open to any child in the ‘Y’s service area of seven school districts. That includes Amherst and Milford.
“When we started our regular camp operation, we were serving hundreds of kids in our camps, so we have the health and safety of the kids and proper protocol in place, and we’ve been able to do that safely.”
The YMCA’s Sarah Sutherland said the program evolved as ‘Y’ administrators discussed what might happen in the fall as school districts began to examine re-opening options.
“We decided that we would offer the remote learning option during the time that they’ll be with us,” she said. “But also adding enrichment and social and emotional learning.”
The two locations for this program are the YMCA at Westwood Park off exit 8 and at Camp Sargent.
With so many parents uncertain of sending their children back to school, the ‘Y’ is providing families with safe childcare; they’ll also provide support in any remote learning that students are doing with their schools.
Throughout the day, students will have designated time to engage in remote learning with their schools. Quiet spaces will be provided for students to meet with their teachers, complete assignments and further their studies. Staff and volunteers will be available to help students with their remote work.
To enhance what the schools are offering, the YMCA is partnering with Bell-Xcel to provide in-person curriculum using LitArt. Each day during the Brain Power Hour, YMCA staff and volunteers will lead students in fun, project-based, grade-appropriate educational activities in math, literacy and writing. This work will help students stay ahead throughout the school year.
The YMCA program will run Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with families dropping off and picking up within those times. To meet the varying schedules of area school districts, parents can register for certain days within a week. The daily cost is $40 per day and will be drafted on a weekly basis.
The ‘Y’ expects to serve approximately 200 children in this program, and although the $40 daily fee may be affordable to some, it might not be to other families. As with all programs, the YMCA doesn’t want money to be a barrier to a quality education, so they will provide financial aid to families in need as they do with their other programs. They have started to secure support to allow the opportunity for any child to attend.
“This year, we moved to a remote model with our Power Scholars program,” LaChance said. “That’s our summer school program that we do in cooperation with the Nashua school district.”
Last year, there were over 300 kids at several of the ‘Y’s sites.
“It’s remote learning, it’s education, it’s academics for the kids,” LaChance said.
As the ‘Y’ was dealing with imminent school opening, parents had a lot of questions.
“We have seen that 50 percent of the population is ready to send their kid back to school,” LaChance shared. “The other 50 percent is not. That makes it even more difficult for the districts to make their decisions, but ultimately, as they make their decisions, we know that it doesn’t matter. If a district was going to go back full time, there are going to be many families that say, ‘my kids are not going back.’”
LaChance said many of those parents have to work and thus they have to find a solution.
“That’s when we stepped up,” he said. “To be able to serve families – whether they live in a district that’s going back full, or it’s going to be remote and the parents are working, or whether it’s a hybrid and they need a balance in between.”
With four locations, the ‘Y’ will utilize two for now, and depending on how the school year progresses, LaChance said they could move students into other ‘Y’ locations.
“We’re ready to go,” he said. “We feel very comfortable and the Nashua school district is very supportive. And the feedback that we get from parents has been good and we’re excited about it.”
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