On Monday. March 8, Governor Kate Brown, Senate President Peter Courtney, and House Speaker Tina Kotek announced a $250 million Summer Learning and Child Care package to help Oregon students and children recover from trials they may have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Combined with as much as $75 million in federal funds, up $325 million will be put toward these programs.
The goal is to help alleviate some of the harmful educational, social, emotional, and mental health impacts the pandemic and months of online school have had on children by creating grants for enrichment activities, academic support, child care and early learning programs. This includes equitable investments for Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Tribal, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Pacific Islander, and children of color, who have been impacted disproportionately.
“The past year has been hard on Oregon kids and their caregivers––especially working mothers––in so many ways,” said Governor Brown in a press release. “As COVID-19 recedes from our communities, it’s time to bring back the summer enrichment programs that spark joy, foster creativity, and encourage healing for our children, who have persevered through adversities few generations have faced at their age. And, we must make sure families and children have equitable access to these programs, as we work to eliminate historic disparities that have been exacerbated during the pandemic.”
Because student success is impacted by factors both in and out of school, the grants aim to address academic needs as well as social and emotional needs.
There are five specific investments in Summer Learning and Child Care package:
Summer Enrichment and Academic Program Grants for grades K-8 – $90 million: These grants are for school districts and partner organizations to put towards activities like outdoor activities, performing arts, robotics, as well as culturally-specific and relevant activities. They may also include academic and mental health support.
Summer Academic Support Grants for high school – $72 million: These grants are available for school districts to use for a summer school program to help any high school students to recover any credits they may have lost to falling behind in distance work and may also include enrichment and social-emotional support.
Summer Activity Grants – $40 million: These grants are for community organizations to put towards enrichment activities like day camps and park programs.
School Child Care Grants – $30 million: Prioritizing low-income, working families, these grants are for Title I elementary schools and Tribes to partner with community-based providers in order to offer child care services that include health and wellness, mental and behavioral health, and nutrition services for K-8 students in summer enrichment and academic programming.
Early Learning Programs – $13 million: These funds will be used to assist Early Learning Division grantees in providing services throughout the summer.
For more information, click here.
By: Hannah Ramsey