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Kinder Bridge prepares BVSD students for Kindergarten

In 2013, in collaboration with Boulder Housing Partners, Impact on Education piloted a summer literacy program for children living in Kalmia public housing in north Boulder. 40 students participated in that first Summer Shuffle program, which eventually grew to serve 60 students across three Boulder public housing sites.

In 2022, the program, now called Kinder Bridge, became part of BVSD’s summer learning program – Summer Summit. Impact on Education funding now enables 160 students to receive four weeks of full-day instruction to prepare them for their first year of school.

2023 program and results

“The whole school had social-emotional time every morning. Doing those activities and team building within our classroom was really helpful. It gave the kids a grounding point.”

– Lead Educator, Kinder Bridge

The 2023 Kinder Bridge summer enrichment program delivered 105 hours of programming to 160 incoming Kindergarten students. Transportation, school supplies, and nutritious meals, along with lessons on healthy behaviors and social-emotional learning, were included in the program.

Licensed educators conducted Kinder Bridge at four Summer Summit locations across Boulder County: Emerald Elementary School in Broomfield, Whittier Elementary School in Boulder, Lafayette Elementary School in Lafayette, and Monarch PK-8 in Louisville.

New this year, students were given a preview of the first month of the Kindergarten curriculum. The site leaders believe students responded well and that the familiarity with both the school routine and academic content would lead to stronger school readiness.

“They’re going to ride the bus, they’re getting a full day. They are going to specials. They get to learn how to stand in line and how to walk from their classroom to the lunchroom and how to put their stuff away in their cubby. I saw a lot of growth in school readiness.”

– Lead Educator, Kinder Bridge

Parent engagement

An important element of the original Summer Shuffle program was family engagement, which we were thrilled to bring back to Kinder Bridge this year. Two partnerships allowed us to offer opportunities for parents and guardians to participate in Kinder Bridge:

Continued learning and growth

Each year we learn how we can improve the program for the following summer. Two ways we’ll continue growing Kinder Bridge next summer include:

We know opportunity gaps start early, and it’s why Impact on Education remains committed to investing in early childhood education.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

3 ways we’re making a difference in 2023

Last year held many challenges for our community and our organization, but our commitment to creating opportunity for success, from preschool through graduation, supported BVSD students furthest from resources. If you haven’t already flipped through our 2022 Impact Report, we encourage you to see what we accomplished last year.

While we’re continuing to support recovery from the Marshall Fire, gearing up to recognize educators at the 2023 Impact Awards, planning our summer school supply distribution Crayons to Calculators, and preparing another round of our Academic Opportunity Fund, there are three important areas we’re excited to invest in this year.

1. Mental health and wellness

Our investment in four Mental Health Advocates supporting the schools most impacted by the Marshall Fire continues through the summer, and this spring we plan to offer educational opportunities for parents around adolescent and teen mental health. We’re also eager to start raising the funds to continue the Wellness Center at Monarch High School and expand it to BVSD’s other four large high schools (Broomfield, Centaurus, Fairview and Boulder) in the 2023-24 school year.

2. Career readiness

Over the next few months, we’re convening over 20 Career Readiness Academy workshops at three BVSD high schools. This program will help 60 students gain the skills, confidence and knowledge to pursue summer job and internship opportunities. Meanwhile, we are continuing to support the rollout of the GradPlus program. This includes identifying the improvements needed at BVSD’s middle and high schools to support career and technical education pathways and programs.

3. Early childhood education

This year our early learning program for incoming BVSD kindergarten students will shift to a four week, full-day program! We fund Kinder Bridge, now part of BVSD’s summer learning program, because access to early learning is not equitably available to all children who will enroll in the district. Kinder Bridge ensures 160 historically underserved students arrive prepared for school classrooms and excited to learn.

We hope you join us this year in supporting nearly 30,000 students in the Boulder Valley School District. Our work addresses systemic barriers and prioritizes those furthest from resources in order to equalize opportunity and bolster academic success.

Thank you for being part of our community and making investments to help us drive lasting change for students, educators, and our public schools.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Investing in our schools is investing in our children and our communities

Where students learn matters. In Colorado, without adequate state funding, school districts are on their own to provide and maintain the schools where students and teachers do their essential work everyday. This fall Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) is asking our community to invest in improving schools across the district. The only way for BVSD to address the critical needs included in ballot measure 5A is by asking our taxpayers — our community — for help.

The $350 million property tax increase asks property owners to invest approximately $118 per year, or $9.83 a month, for each $600,000 of home value. While the ballot is crowded with tax measures this year, it’s important to support ballot issue 5A this year because our buildings are aging and require immediate maintenance to extend their useful life, and new home construction at the northeastern edge of our district will lead to overcrowded and inequitable classrooms if we fail to act. 

Perhaps the most exciting projects included in measure 5A, however, are the proposed investments that will provide BVSD students with quality skills-based learning experiences. The Boulder Chamber identified workforce development as a priority need for local employers and BVSD’s Facilities Critical Needs Plan would include renovating our middle and high schools to offer innovative classrooms and learning laboratories that will ensure our graduates are equipped for postsecondary success. 

What’s included in Ballot Measure 5A

Renovating buildings to better prepare students for their futures – 15%

BVSD is ready to transform the student experience in college and career preparedness. Proposed renovations at PK-8, middle, and high schools will expand or create flexible, agile spaces where students can experience industry-inspired environments with the latest equipment, helping them acquire valuable technical skills along with the real-world, hands-on experiences that lead to high-wage and high-growth jobs that are in high demand. Allowing students to build their own path to success is important, and GradPlus enables a skills-based curriculum where students don’t have to choose between learning a skilled trade or further academic pursuits.

Critical maintenance, facility improvements, rebuilding New Vista High – 68.9%

Measure 5A also represents the District’s highest priority building needs that must be addressed in the next four years in order to optimize taxpayer investments. Nearly 60% of the buildings in BVSD are over 40 years old and the cost of current critical building needs, recommended by the Capital Improvement Plan Review Committee, will only increase if the measure does not pass. Plans also call for the 70-year old New Vista High School building to be replaced.

Relieving overcrowding in schools – 13.8%

The only BVSD school in Erie, Meadowlark PK-8, is at 100% capacity in grades PK-5. Development that’s already under construction in the area requires a plan to address enrollment growth before it’s a crisis. Building a second elementary school in Erie will accommodate new students and relieve overcrowding in other district schools, which leads to inequitable classrooms and learning experiences.

Improving ADA access on playgrounds – 2.3%

So that students of all physical abilities can benefit from play and exercise, playground mulch on a number of elementary playgrounds would be replaced with rubberized solid surfaces that are wheelchair friendly.

Vote yes on 5A

Public schools are a pillar of local cities and towns, providing an important thread in the social fabric of our community. It’s difficult to imagine our neighborhoods without their local schools – critical infrastructure that enables learning, social connections, and student growth and achievement to take place. In order to positively impact our economy and community we must educate our youth, facilitate avenues for careers, and provide safe facilities for learning. 

Voting yes on 5A is a vote for public education.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 30,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Our partnership with BVSD prepared more students for Kindergarten

One of the magical ingredients to our work is our partnership with the Boulder Valley School District. We’re much stronger when we work together, and our Kinder Bridge program is a prime example.

Why we became a champion for early learning

Preparing students for that all-important first year of formal schooling allows us to address opportunity gaps facing our youngest learners. The BVSD community is diverse in many ways, welcoming students from different races, cultures, economic and family backgrounds.

Because we know school readiness can impact everything from reading at grade level to graduating high school to being career ready later in life, Impact on Education partnered with Boulder Housing Partners over six years ago to start offering a summer program that provided high quality early learning experiences to preschool age students heading to BVSD. In 2022 this program was woven into BVSD’s summer learning, allowing us to serve four times the number of students and provide 50% more instructional hours.

What Kinder Bridge offers students

This past summer, 170 rising Kindergarten students with identified risk factors participated in our Kinder Bridge program. These students wouldn’t have otherwise had access to summer preschool and would have arrived in our kindergarten classrooms less prepared than their peers. The new partnership allowed us to:

The impact of the 2022 Kinder Bridge program

While many students were already demonstrating Kindergarten-level behaviors at the beginning of the summer, all students saw growth on the BVSD TS-Gold Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, and 65% left the program within the expected range of a kindergartener one month into the school year. The greatest gains were in identifying letter-sound correspondences and taking care of their own needs appropriately.

Class attendance averaged 86% across the three sites and 92% of families indicated plans to enroll their students in BVSD Kindergarten.

Looking ahead to 2023 we’ll continue working closely and proactively with BVSD to improve and enroll students in our Kinder Bridge program.

*The BVSD TS-Gold Kindergarten Readiness Assessment measures literacy/letter recognition, numeracy/number recognition and counting, and executive functioning skills necessary to engage productively and positively in a kindergarten class.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 30,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Expanding early learning for incoming BVSD Kindergarteners

We want to prepare as many children as we can for that all-important first year of formal schooling. From academic knowledge and skills to executive functioning and social emotional learning, high quality early learning experiences are critical to their future success.

Our Kinder Bridge investment

Impact on Education partners with the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) to fund Kinder Bridge, providing summer learning for over 160 rising Kindergarten students. Access to early learning, including reading and math, is not equitably available to all children who will enroll in the district, so we invest in this program to provide access to those historically underserved.

School readiness can significantly impact everything from reading at grade level to graduating high school to being career ready later in life.

Center for American Progress

Working with BVSD and community partners we identify the students most likely to be in need of programming to prepare them for the classroom. 

What students learn

At three schools across the district, students receive six weeks of summer instruction focusing on letter recognition, counting, letter sound formation and recognition, and name-writing. They also cultivate executive functioning and social emotional learning skills which are important for kindergarten readiness.

Learn more about BVSD’s summer learning program >>

The importance of early learning

We invest in Kinder Bridge and our partnership with BVSD because our schools are well-positioned to provide young children and their families with high quality early learning experiences. We’ll work closely with BVSD to evaluate the progress students make during this summer’s program as they prepare for their classrooms this fall.

This year’s Summer Shuffle program looked unlike any other year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the goal remained the same: preparing local preschoolers from low-income families for Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) classrooms. We’re so grateful we were able to have students learn in person by limiting our class sizes and following the BVSD health and safety protocols.

How the Summer Shuffle program works

Three Boulder Housing Partner (BHP) sites were selected to host a summer class, and each was staffed by a bilingual lead instructor and a bilingual paraeducator who delivered literacy, numeracy, and executive functioning instruction to BHP pre-schoolers and incoming kindergarten students. 

For five weeks, the classes met for two hours each Monday through Thursday, serving 31 children total from three to six years of age. In addition to the curriculum, kids were able to play outside and receive a take-home snack each day. New to the program this year, students were provided with their own copy of a new book each week based on the weekly curriculum theme as well as arts and crafts materials and supplies the families could keep for future use. 

What we learned this year

What’s next for kindergarten readiness

We are working on plans for an expanded summer program in 2022 that will broaden our reach to more pre-K kids and to more communities. If you would like to help prepare our youngest learners for school, please reach out to Darcy to learn more or make a gift.

*The BVSD TS-Gold Kindergarten Readiness Assessment measures literacy/letter recognition, numeracy/number recognition and counting, and executive functioning skills necessary to engage productively and positively in a kindergarten class.

Summer Shuffle Prepares Early Learners for BVSD Classrooms

Many of the children in this year’s Summer Shuffle program are learning in person for the first time. It’s a big change for the kids and a positive start to their preschool or kindergarten experiences this fall. We know that the wide gaps in educational achievement start very early, and our Summer Shuffle program, a partnership with Boulder Housing Partners, offers the critical early interventions that make a huge difference.

Summer Shuffle is a bilingual program that delivers literacy and numeracy instruction to low-income youth living in public housing in Boulder. Approximately 30 preschool age students are spending 20 days of their summer learning important skills such as letter recognition, counting, name-writing and so much more!

What’s different about this summer

The program is smaller this year, primarily to make sure both students and parents were comfortable with their kids learning in person. In addition to the smaller class sizes, masks are required and parents fill out daily health screenings.

“Kids are having so much fun being with other kids and not on the computer,” says Kathy Luna, the lead instructor for the program. “I’m hearing from parents that their kids are waking up early (in the summer!) because they’re so excited to go to school.”

Each week, students focus on a unit, such as insects, trees, buildings, water, and music, that provides a new book, activities, and introduces school supplies. This year, hands-on activities, including art, are what the kids are most interested in. Each student gets to take home a new book each of the five weeks, one of which is written in Spanish, and at the end of the program they get to take home their box of school supplies and a white board.

Getting students ready for classrooms

While the program focuses on building literacy and numeracy skills, our instructors are also preparing students for the classroom by cultivating executive functioning skills and teaching them about healthy behaviors like hand-washing.

“In just two weeks, my daughter has learned how to socialize and talk with other kids. She starts preschool in August and this program has really helped her.” 

The mother of a 2021 Summer Shuffle participant

This element feels extra important this summer considering how many of the kindergarten students have never been in a formal learning environment and would otherwise be walking into a classroom for the first time next month. These preschoolers, who learned remotely last year, are improving at writing their name and reinforcing simple skills such as holding a pencil to write and cutting with scissors.

We’re excited to see these kids learning while having fun with friends and neighbors, and to see kids getting back into the rhythm of school.

Impact on Education is proud to announce changes to our Summer Shuffle Early Childhood Summer Learning Program.  Following public health guidelines, we are evolving from gathering and teaching groups of preschool-aged children at the Boulder Housing Partners (BHP) Community Centers to delivering instructional materials to the doorstep of every 3, 4 and 5 year-old’s home at every BHP site. While we will miss having these young learners join teachers in person, the modified Summer Shuffle allows us to reach twice as many students and families than we typically do! We anticipate delivering over 500 instructional kits this summer!

How we’re adapting

We’re excited to implement such an individualized model during this challenging, instructional time! Each week from June 22-July 23, a bilingual BVSD paraeducator will hand deliver, following established health protocols, an assembled package of theme-driven materials that follow a curriculum developed by our lead teacher, an experienced, bilingual BVSD Early Childhood Education teacher. The bilingual materials will include several books, arts & crafts materials, and printed instructional lessons to guide parents in using those materials. In addition, each week, our Lead Teacher, Ms. Kathy, will offer virtual storytime–in both Spanish and in English–with the books included in the weekly packages. She is also planning on virtual playgroups for parents to check in and visit with her and one another. They’ll have opportunities to ask questions about the instruction or childhood development or education and network with other parents. The program will not only support our youngest BVSD learners but also their parents, guardians, and families.

In past years, the goals of Summer Shuffle have been both academic and social-emotional, and this year’s changes will align with those goals: With full-day kindergarten in Colorado now going into its second year, school readiness has never been more important.  Executive functioning skills such as attentiveness during instruction or storytime and sharing of ideas verbally are vital for kindergarten growth, and understanding basic math and language concepts is similarly important to starting off on the right foot.

Experiences that make a difference

Enrolling in a formal preschool program plays a crucial role in introducing those skills early, when children can start associating learning with fun, so one of our goals each year is to offer a friendly summertime introduction to school that will result in preschool enrollment. As with all of our programs, we’ll measure the impact of our program by collecting surveys, observing progress and collecting input from parents and caregivers.  Additionally, Impact on Education will gather data on preschool enrollment of BHP children at the conclusion of our program.

Even in these uncertain instructional times, all children need to learn and be prepared for school. And we have a responsibility to do all that we can to ensure that the gap in in-person learning doesn’t add to the already wide gap in resources and opportunities that Impact on Education works so hard to address. We’re excited that Summer Shuffle will continue to mean fun in learning, and children in public housing will continue to grow and expand their horizons this summer!

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info@impactoneducation.org
303.524.3865

Impact on Education
721 Front Street, Suite A
Louisville, CO 80027

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