I recently served as the Executive Direct of Kesher, a long-standing after-school and preschool program here in Somerville, which gave me an understanding of the administrative side of education. I also saw first-hand the incredible value of high-quality after-school childcare.
There are serious social justice concerns when not all families have access to high-quality, affordable after-school, school vacation and summer childcare and activities. We see an ever-widening learning gap that happens over the summer. When students return in the fall, those kids who had enrichment activities over the summer retain more and come back refreshed and ready to learn, while those who didn’t have such opportunities experience significant learning loss.
The district can and should be doing more to support families during non-school periods. I will encourage our schools to partner with local nonprofits to expand offerings and better support students during non-school periods.