FLINT, Michigan—Kids and graduates everywhere will conclude the school year without ever having been in a classroom since Whitmer’s executive order on March 13, 2020.
Organizations like the Charles Steward Mott Foundation and the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce are providing virtual programs and resources to Flint schools to keep students equipped and engaged.
Through June 4, 2020, YouthQuest—a Chamber of Commerce after-school program— will be offering its programs remotely to all Flint schools as well as to the International Academy of Flint. Youthquest’s programming offers academic support, nutrition education, physical fitness, and more in virtual and physical forms.
“Since schools first closed, YouthQuest has provided hundreds of supply kits and learning packets for our afterschool students,” said Nefertari Jones, program director for YouthQuest in a May 4 press release. “Based on input from families, we’re also mailing out game ideas, coloring sheets and other engaging activities upon request. Our goal is to provide resources that can help families thrive as they adjust to this ‘new normal.’”
To enroll parents can reach out to the YouthQuest Site Team Leader assigned to their child’s school.
The virtual developments and offerings by YouthQuest are part of the outgrowth of programs meant to support Flint Community School's distance learning plan.
“This technology is necessary to ensure students are still learning and part of a community even when they can’t physically be in a classroom,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation in a April 27 press release. “We know an access gap exists, and we hope this grant gets us a step closer to eliminating it.”
A Charles Stewart Mott Foundation grant of $163,000 has been developed to support the technological needs of Flint Community Schools.
The funds will go towards the purchase of 800 mobile hotspots and 1,500 Mobile Guard applications. This will assist in tandem with the Chromebooks that Flint Community schools already provided with internet access for middle and high school students. The hotspots and Mobiel Guard applications will provide further protect students from distractions and virtual harm.
As part of the interim superintendent’s distance learning plan, additional support for Flint students includes a call from a teacher at least twice a week for progress check-ins and once a week from a Wellness Team member for social and emotional stability. Aside from check-in calls, students will also have specialized learning materials through English Language Learning services, Individualized Education Plans, and 504 plans.
“School buildings may be closed for the remainder of the school year, but educating our students and personally connecting with them each day remains our priority,” said Interim Superintendent, Anita Steward in the April 27 press release. “We are incredibly grateful for the support of community partners like the Mott Foundation. During these challenging times, we will continue to explore opportunities to ensure our students have access to learning materials necessary for their academic growth.”
For more information about YouthQuest virtual programming visit www.yquest.org or call (810) 600-1422.