A Letter from Our Executive Director: Solutions to Ensure All Students Succeed

A Letter from Our Executive Director Aspire Afterschool

As students return to the classroom, the lingering impact of the pandemic and missed learning remains. Pandemic-related missed learning impacts all students, but has a disproportionate impact on historically underserved students. At Aspire! Afterschool Learning, students are entering our program much further behind previous cohorts. Our fifth grade i-Ready data shows 72% of students testing two to three levels behind where they should be.

Our students know they are behind and it gets harder to catch them up each year. At some point, students stop trying because they feel like failures.

We need higher expectations, not just for historically underserved students, but for our entire community. We cannot give up on these students. We cannot abandon our expectations of who can catch up, learn, or exceed.

Schools alone cannot do this work and many parents are working multiple jobs and can’t afford private tutoring.

At Aspire Afterschool Learning, providing students most impacted by the opportunity gap with no-cost, robust, and holistic afterschool support is what we do every day. We know a community model works and invite you to join us in these solutions:

  • Fund no-cost daily afterschool and summer academic programs close to where families live, eliminating barriers that many low-income families face.
  • Support and retain high-quality teachers and afterschool professionals so students receive consistent support, instruction, and encouragement.
  • Ensure programs include robust academic support in reading and math, as well as social-emotional support so students are prepared to learn, meals so students can concentrate on learning, and project-based learning and STEAM lessons to apply their learning. Historically underserved students need access to the same opportunities that challenge their more affluent peers’ imagination, open doors to emerging fields, and develop a lifelong love of learning.
  • Volunteer to help schools and afterschool programs provide more individualized support.

Paula Fynboh

Executive Director, Aspire! Afterschool Learning