MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee area YMCAs are hoping to help with parents' back-to-school dilemma, and "reinvent public schooling."
Through its Innovative Extended Learning Academy, the Y is working in partnership with the state of Wisconsin, city of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee schools to offer students, ages four through 17, small-group, distanced eLessons directly through their school districts. Tutoring, physical activity, and a focus on socio-emotional development are part of the program, according to a YMCA release.
“Families feel like reopening is a no-win situation, but our successful childcare programs have proven that we don’t actually have to compromise our kids’ safety to give them the critical benefits of going back to school,” said Carrie Wall, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee in the release. ”There has to be a drastic, integrated reinvention — and that happens to be our specialty.
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Because school reopening plans vary, the YMCA is tailoring unique solutions for every site. For some schools, it will alleviate classroom crowdedness on a daily basis or extend before- and after-school time. For others who are planning to rotate in-classroom days, it will keep all the students on track with a consistent schedule which relieves childcare stress on parents who are returning to work.
There are three centers at YMCA locations that can accommodate students from any school currently available, but the organization is aggressively seeking more. The Y is talking to more than 30 schools, medical providers, and other organizations to add other locations, based at either workplaces, community buildings, or schools.
The Y is hiring for its Academy and its Early Childhood Education Centers to keep pace with the demand. Full training is provided and teachers can apply to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education while they work. A majority of tuition and fees would be covered through the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association's T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Program.
The school site programs begin Aug. 31. Registration is open now online. Families can register for one to five days a week. Sites will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. to give working families extra time for pickup and drop-off.
The cost is $34 per day, and Wisconsin Shares child care subsidies are accepted.