Three local agencies have teamed up to help curb an education crisis hitting Southeast families during the pandemic.
Funded by United Way, the Youth For Christ City Life Center, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Renaissance Pointe YMCA are providing free tutoring and credit recovery assistance to help students falling behind in their current classes as well as help students recover lost credits because of last spring’s interruption of classes. The latter problem is particularly distressing as a high school diploma is an entrée for job training and higher education.
The Boys and Girls Club is working with elementary school children; Renaissance Y is focusing on middle school students but open to all; and City Life Center, across from South Side High School, is concentrating on high schoolers.
Amos Norman is the Executive Director (and newly appointed District Director) at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA in Fort Wayne.
Students can receive assistance 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays. Credit recovery assistance can be obtained 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sims
“As a community, we must assume the responsibility alongside with our schools to ensure we are giving our kids the support they need to have a great educational experience as they learn in the classrooms and virtually,” says Nygel Simms, Regional Director for Urban Ministries at Youth for Christ of Northeast Indiana.
Fort Wayne Community Schools has seen an uptick of students in credit recovery because of the spring shutdown. Students failing at the time of the shutdown were given an “incomplete” status with the opportunity for credit recovery. Students have been notified by the district about their need to recover credit(s).
Fort Wayne’s education issues are part of a national trend. The coronavirus has disrupted every life in America, causing not only 220,000-plus deaths to date, but also disorder and dislocation in every sector of society, including primary and secondary education.
African-American and Latinx students are at greater risk than others when it comes to the continued interruption of the in-class learning environment, according to an article in the influential online tech journal TechCrunch.
“A McKinsey analysis found that 40 percent of African-American students and 30 percent of Hispanic students in U.S. K-12 schools received no online instruction during COVID-induced school shutdowns, compared to 10 percent of whites,” writes Darrell M. West and John R. Allen, both of the Brookings Institute. “These gaps in access to online education and digital services widen the already substantial educational inequalities that exist but push them to new heights. If continued for a lengthy period of time, such differentials expose our most disadvantaged students to large barriers to advancement and a future of income deprivation or economic stagnation.”
FWCS has put technology in the hands of all students so the district can provide a virtual environment for children to learn while helping to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, there is a digital access gap due to broadband availability, as well as varying levels of parental participation, particularly in single-parent households, says Renaissance YMCA director Amos Norman. The program is part of the Y’s mission to be “good stewards.”
“COVID-19 not only shut down schools, but it also shut down academics for a number of kids,” he says. “We’re providing a space for students to connect with teachers to get help. It’s about being an ally to kids and their parents.”
Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne
2609 Fairfield Ave.
3701 Calhoun St.
Renaissance Pointe YMCA
2323 Bowser Ave.
This story was originally published in Fort Wayne Ink Spot.