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Safely Back to School: Success from Cradle to Career

Posted at 1:41 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 15:41:13-04

More than a decade ago, United Way of Salt Lake learned that traditional philanthropy was not enough to help every child in our community be well educated and achieve his or her potential.

Now, they run the Promise Partnership to ensure that every child in our community has equitable opportunities to succeed cradle to career.

Promise Partnership is the engine behind Stay Safe, Stay Connected and the Utah State Board of Education is co-sponsoring it. But really, it represents hundreds of partners. That includes local school districts along the Wasatch Front, community-based nonprofits, libraries, companies donating laptops, The Hope Corps at the University of Utah, generous donors like Mark & Kathie Miller, and dozens more. It's truly a cross-sector effort to support our community.

Amy Ahrens Terpstra, Vice President of Collective Impact at United Way Salt Lake, joined us with information on their Stay Safe, Stay Connected initiative.

That is an initiative that promotes and supports continued learning for pre-k -12 students over the summer and into the next school year no matter what back to school looks like. They aim to support parents and caregivers with a variety of resources in a variety of forms: from ideas, tips, and guidance for easy and proven at-home learning activities to virtual mentoring and tutoring programs to referrals to COVID-safe in-person programs in your community.

Eligible families can even get a laptop or Chromebook and get connected with internet service.

Unfortunately, when schools suddenly moved to distance learning last March, many students were disconnected. Numbers are hard to come by, but estimates suggest 20-50% of students never connected with their teachers. It's clear that despite the best efforts of many educators, there are cracks in our education system, and kids are falling through. And the kids most likely to be left behind are students of color, students from low-income families, and students learning English.

Also, the pandemic and distance learning has been really hard on parents and caregivers. Everyone needs a little support. Stay Safe, Stay Connected offers some resources for everyone and targeted supports to the families that are experiencing the most hardship right now.

If you'd like to get in touch with Stay Safe, Stay Connected, just call 211 from your phone, text 898-211, or go online to 211utah.org.

Even if you don't need program support, you'll find great resources there to use as you keep your kids learning over the summer and work to make your home a learning rich environment into the next school year, no matter what school looks like. Families can get support in a variety of languages, too.

You can find more information at uw.org/211/stay-safe-stay-connected.