During School on Wheels’ first year, we served 50 kids. This year we expect to serve 400. But we aren’t chasing numbers, we’re chasing impact.
That’s why we are so excited about our newest program expansions! We’re even more excited to announce that the following program expansions have been made possible with the generous support of Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. We rely on funding from foundations, corporations, and individuals to offer our programs for free to our partners and clients so we can break the cycle of homelessness through education.
Did you know that the impacts of homelessness on education can linger for years? A recent report from the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness concluded that the educational impacts of homelessness continue even after a student is stably housed. Key findings indicate that “students who experienced any episode of homelessness within the last three years score at the same lower proficiency rates as currently homeless students.” (Aftershock: The Lasting Impact of Homelessness on Student Achievement)
This school year, we are working with families currently living at or moving into Colonial Park Apartments and Salvation Army Barton Center to provide additional academic supportive services for families who have experienced homelessness. Colonial Park Apartments, a Partners in Housing property, is a brand-new program partner this year! Our staff will work with parents at both sites to develop an education plan for each of their school-aged children. We’ll give referrals for tutoring, mentoring, after-school, extra-curricular, mental health, and disability services programs. And depending on needs, staff will provide families with resources regarding school choice, McKinney-Vento services, educational disability services, and information on preschool. In addition to Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, the Faith & Action Project is supporting a portion of the post-program expansion and pilot.
Preparing pre-K children for school readiness is also a focus of our research and program expansion this school year. According to a 2008 study, in cognitive measures among 4-6 year olds, children who experienced homelessness were one standard deviation below normative ranges. (Early Childhood & Homelessness, Katherine T. Volk) Children are learning to read in the first few years of school, but by 3rd grade they are reading to learn. We offer STAR (Striving Toward Academic Readiness) for kindergarten and first graders at two school partners to help young learners get on track for academic success, but we know there is more we can do.
We will be working with parents and pre-K students, ages 3-5, at select partner locations in Indianapolis. Workshops for parent are focused on practical activities to promote readiness, understanding readiness benchmarks, and much more. In addition to the workshops, School on Wheels staff will help parents enroll their children in pre-K programs and offer hands-on sessions where staff will work with parents and children to model activities that promote school readiness.
On top of these exciting program developments, we’ve added a new tutoring partner this year as well! We’re working with new students from 3:00 – 4:00 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays at Cold Spring School. If you are able, we’d love to have you apply to tutor today!
It’s exciting to work with so many community partners to build effective programs that provide the most impact possible. We can’t wait to see what we learn this year and how these lessons will impact future programs and growth!
Want to be involved in making the 2017/2018 school year a success for all the students we serve? You can help by making a donation today!