Springfield Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Azell Cavaan attended on behalf of Superintendent Daniel Warwick. Mayoral Aide Lavar Click-Bruce, South End Community Center Executive Director Wesley Jackson and Boston Beyond President Chris Smith were also in attendance.
In a pilot program last summer with a few Springfield community-based organizations, SEZP learned what national research has long evidenced: connecting children (and families) with enriching summer activities increases student engagement, reverses conventional learning loss trends and builds core life skills. Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick – both members of the SEZP Board of Directors – encouraged SEZP leadership to expand this pilot to serve more students. In applying for and receiving a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to support out-of-school time learning, SEZP will now be able to help more Springfield community-based organizations – starting this summer and extending into the 2022-23 school year – serve more Springfield children at such a critical time for families in Springfield.
Mayor Sarno states, “One of the most powerful strengths of the City of Springfield is our unwavering belief that ‘It takes a village.’ We know that our students and families have tremendous strengths, and simply need opportunities to let those strengths shine. I am proud of SEZP and our community partners for being part of the village that supports our Springfield families and children.”
“Springfield is deeply fortunate to have a wealth of community partners to support our students, particularly as we navigate the challenges of Covid,” stated Warwick. “Through this grant, SEZP can help these community partners deepen the hands-on enrichment in their programs, and serve even more Springfield students.”
“SEZP believes that all students should have access to enriching opportunities in their time outside of school,” stated Matt Brunell and Colleen Curran, co-Executive Directors of SEZP. “In this so-called ‘fifth quarter of learning,’ students emerge with more wonder about the world around them, more connections to caring adults and supportive peers, and more engagement with their broader community. We could not be more excited about the promise of this grant.”
SEZP, which will oversee selection, evaluation and measurement of the grant alongside its technical service provider, Boston Beyond – ran a competitive grant process for community-based organizations for this summer. SEZP made grants to the following 11 Springfield community-based partners, who will serve an expected 750 Springfield students:
- CLUBOH, Inc.
- Springfield Pride Parade Organization
- Higher Expectations
- Strong Young Minds
- Mass Audubon
- The Center After School Program
- New North Citizen's Council
- Travis Best Foundation
- South End Community Center
- Western MA Council, Boy Scouts of America
- Springfield Ballers