Foundation grants will support after school and summer education programs

The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) is awarding $145,000 to three organizations offering targeted, out-of-school academic interventions for students who have been most impacted by the education opportunity gap. 

Research shows that out-of-school programs, whether after school or during the summer break, are most effective with small group sizes, staff that students recognize and trust, and at least six consecutive weeks of programming.  

“Deploying resources to help close the education opportunity gap for local students is an investment in their academic success and the long-term success of our community,” says Yadah V. Ramirez, director of community impact at the Community Foundation. “These grants underscore our vision of fostering equitable access to high-quality education, ensuring that every child has the chance to thrive.” 

Zeeland Public Schools – ZPS Summer Learning 

Amount awarded: $60,000 over two years.  

Purpose: To supplement the work being done with at-risk third grade students during the summer and allow the program to serve an additional 30 or more students with academic and/or socio-emotional needs. Students will attend two-hour sessions, three times per week, for a six-week period over the summer at no cost to the students or their families. These sessions will include small groups, individual tutoring and practice, and full group lessons to boost reading and math skills. To reduce barriers to participation, ZPS will also coordinate transportation, access to technology/learning supplies, and meals. 

“ZPS is thankful for the opportunity to partner with CFHZ,” says Julie Paterick, assistant superintendent of early childhood and elementary curriculum at Zeeland Public Schools. “This collaboration will make it possible to expand invitations to students who will benefit from summer learning the most.”

Holland Public Schools – After School Endeavors Program 

Amount awarded: $60,000 over two years. 

Purpose: To implement the new After School Endeavors Program, which supports K-12 students at  risk of learning loss in reading, writing, and math. The program also incorporates an English language development component, as English language learners have been identified as at risk.  Academic intervention strategies will be reserved for students who are  failing classes and need help to better understand the material. Tutoring opportunities will be offered for students who are working on homework or seeking enrichment in areas where they need to be challenged to sustain academic gains. 

"Holland is thrilled to receive this grant. Not only does it open doors for enriching after-school  activities for our students, but it also strengthens our collaboration with community partners,” says Melissa Remillard, associate superintendent of school improvement.  

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland – Education Programs 

Amount awarded: $25,000 

Purpose: To make daily academic assistance available to all club members through Power Hour, Project Learn, and EPIC. Power Hour offers students homework help from BGCGH staff or volunteers; Project Learn focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and  EPIC helps high school students connect their studies with post-secondary education plans. The organization’s education programs have been proven effective. For example, participants in Project Learn have  experienced an overall grade point increase of 11%, with an increase in math grades of 13%, spelling at 22%, and reading at 5%. 
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