Last night, the Nashua School District partnered with the YMCA of Greater Nashua, 21st Century Programs and Title I to institute the YMCA Power Scholars Academy this summer for up to 360 children in Nashua. The summer program is an expansion of our YMCA Summer Learning Loss Prevention (SLLP) program that we have run with great success since 2015 in Nashua, helping low-income first and second graders who are behind their grade level in reading, close the achievement gap.
“The biggest reason for the move to the YMCA Power Scholars Academy is we’re able to serve 6 times more scholars and add a math component to the program,” said Joe Manzoli, Chief Operating Officer for the YMCA of Greater Nashua. “The reading outcomes of Power Scholars Academy are the same as SLLP, but because we can add the math and serve more kids, it only made sense to all parties involved.”
Power Scholars Academy will serve Nashua youth in grades 1-8 to help them start the next school year ahead academically, with social-emotional skills to overcome challenges, and the confidence to achieve great things.
The YMCA of Greater Nashua is currently looking for Lead Academic Teachers, Enrichment Teachers, Assistant Teachers and Instructional Coaches to work the Y this summer and deliver the Power Scholars Academy curriculum or to lead enrichment programs during the summer. See listings on our Careers Page for more information.
The Nashua Telegraph reported the below article in the Nashua & Region section of their Tuesday, March 13th edition.
Nashua to Implement Program with YMCA
By HANNAH LaCLAIRE
NASHUA – The Nashua School District is taking the traditional summer school program and “shaking it up big,” according to Stacy Hynes, communications director.
The district is partnering with the YMCA of Greater Nashua, 21st Century Programs and Title I to bring a free, 5 week full-day, playbased learning program called Power Scholars Academy. The program is geared for low-income, below grade level students in grades one through eight.
Power scholars will combine academic instruction in literacy and math, enrichment activities, field trips and service programs to help combat the two and a half months of learning that are lost on average every summer, according to program coordinators. It will begin July 9.
The first half of the day will be devoted to education with a 12:1 student to teacher ratio, with the second half focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and art activities, swimming and physical activity.
The goal of the program is to “close the achievement gap,” according to the presentation, and as well as addressing academic progress, will also hope to increase social-emotional health, community connections and school engagement.
Breakfast, lunch and transportation will be provided.
According to Joseph Manzoli, chief operating officer for the YMCA, on average students see a one and a half month increase in reading grade level and a two month increase in math.
“We just want to help these kids know they are smart and capable,” Hynes said. “We hope this will spark their inquisitive side.”
There are currently about 360 spots currently available, and students will be identified through a referral process.
The national program, developed by the YMCA and BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), is currently implemented in 91 sites across the country.
Board member Doris Hohensee called the program “fabulous” when Manzoli and Gail Casey, director of 21st Century, presented to the board Monday night.
Board members Howard Coffman and William Mosher both said they would like to see more data.
Coffman said he was interested in seeing localized data after the program is implemented, and Mosher wanted to see more recent data, as the latest was from 2011. He also said he would like to see data from a district of a similar size that also had the program.
Elementary school students will attend at Fairgrounds and Amherst Street Elementary Schools and middle school students at Nashua High School South.
The cost, around $320,000 will be shared by the district’s operating fund, Title I, 21st Century and the YMCA of Greater Nashua. The cost for the district will be on par with what the district has spent in previous years.
The teachers and program leaders will be hired and trained by the YMCA.
The program is similar to a Learning Loss Prevention Program that has been held at Dr. Crisp Elementary School and Ledge Street School, also with the YMCA, over the last few years.
The district had a whopping 32 summer programs. Power Scholars Academy helps to combine and refine many of those programs, bringing the district total down to five, Casey said.
Other summer school programs like those for ELL students, Special Education Students and the Blast-off to kindergarten program will still run over the summer.
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