After an eclectic winter, we're ready to March into spring. (and back into schools!) As the district introduces a new hybrid schedule, we're beginning to adjust in turn.
When the district reopened remotely for the fall semester last year, we provided support for remote learning for the late morning through the end of the school day. In order to provide better support, facilitate better participation, and avert disruptions, we expanded our hours of operation to completely encompass the childrens' school days. Since implementing this latest schedule, daily attendance has improved, as well as the kids' classroom engagement. Currently, we have a mix of students who are in school every day, students who elected to stick with remote learning, and students who are now starting to attend every other week. We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt as best we can to best serve the community.
Outside of supporting remote learning, we've continued to provide meals through the day, opportunities to move, (especially with the BOKS program!) as well as a host of creative and educational activities. A big thanks goes towards Melissa Shield for the bagel donations, as well as the Y and Lovin' Spoonfuls for continued meal support. The group made Valentine's day cards for each other, as well as Finnley Silva, whom they'd previously written birthday cards for in the month prior. Over the break, they made snowmen! Other activity highlights have included snow globes, mobiles, craft-stick houses, and code bracelets.
The Interfaith site is now reopened! We'd like to thank the work of many donors and volunteers, including the Giblin family to whom the new site is dedicated, the support of the YMCA who helped with certification, and countless hours of hard work the Interfaith crew have put in to making the center what it is now. Congratulations! The site looks great, and it's been fantastic seeing the kids learning there. We've already began implementing activities and routines developed at Pusan during the closure, including the BOKS program that Ken already headed, remote tutoring with Babson students coordinated through Becky, as well as craft and STEM activities, including snow globes and a fun magnetic field activity.
We're pleased to announce that we've enrolled two new students at the Pusan center, as well as three at Interfaith in the short time it's been open! We will continue to work towards fulfilling our capacity within COVID guidelines. (Eight more at Interfaith!) We're also pleased to welcome our incoming program director, Kevin Lopez. We look forward to having him nearby in our new Director's Office at the Interfaith site. There's been a lot of change both at Hoops and in the district; while challenging, we've been working hard to improve the programs and meet needs during uncertainty. Thank you again for your support, and we'll see you next time!
-The Hoops and Homework Team
January marks the first month where we've expanded hours to fully encompass student's remote learning, which has proved successful. It's been an adjustment for students and staff alike, but we're happy to report that there's been stronger engagement in students' remote learning and more consistent attendance. Our next challenge we're working to meet is safely navigating a hybrid model as the district begins phasing students back into schools.
At Pusan, after remote learning, we've been engaging students with a whole host of activities. There are BOK exercises with Ken, reading and comprehension meetings through zoom with tutors from Babson, group reading, arts and crafts, and STEM activities. Highlights have included a Groundhog Day pop-up, a hands-on introduction to circuits, and crystals that the class grew! Ila led students in writing birthday cards for Finnley, a child at Children's Hospital waiting for a heart. We've also acquired smart TVs for both sites to give us more options for activities, including virtual instruction during the pandemic.
At Interfaith, we've been working hard to prepare for remote learning now that construction has finished. Dahiana and Ken have been working hard to unpack into the new space, as well as to acquire and organize new materials and furniture. We eagerly await the re-opening in two week's time, pending the success of a meeting for licensing on the tenth. Our aim is to open for after school during February vacation, and for full days supporting remote learning following. A virtual re-opening ceremony is slated to be filmed and posted on our facebook page two weeks following.
-The Hoops and Homework Team
Happy New Year!
As we move into 2021, we'd like to reflect on the successes and challenges in the past few months, and to outline our plan moving forward. In November, we were able to donate a lot of food to the community thanks to Feed a Family. A big thanks goes to Jim Rushe for enabling the collaboration and delivering the food to the site, and to Pusan and Interfaith staff for coordinating collections and providing deliveries. We'd also like to thank Kristine Austin, who provided four computers for families. We'd like to thank Don Taggart and Pam Kaufman for helping provide a Thanksgiving meal for Hoops and Homework. To comply with COVID policies, we did not have a joint event between the centers, and instead opted to alternate use of the Pusan site for both groups. We had great difficulty securing Interfaith attendance, and we were unable to host the event for them. We hope for the speedy renovation of the new Interfaith site area to better facilitate community engagement. Following Thanksgiving week, the Pusan site unfortunately had positive COVID case occurrence. We have taken this very seriously and have closed the site for a two-week quarantine period to re-evaluate the physical site and COVID procedures, especially with desired enrollment. After remodeling we adjusted the site with stations for fourteen kids, with new equipment on the way to safely include four more for the eighteen we're rated for.
We've been adjusting our routine to provide better consistency. The synchronization of schools' lunch hours last November was especially helpful in establishing a dedicated lunch and recess time for all kids. We've been coordinating and implementing more afterschool activities, including STEM enrichment, crafts, and games. Currently, with the new upcoming schedule, we plan to accommodate remote learning from 8:00 to 3:30, including an hour break for lunch and recess. Breakfast will be offered in the morning as kids come in, and a healthy snack will be offered after children are out of school at 3:30. We've been offering coloring pages, word searches, and picture puzzles for kids on break. We'll run more involved activities at four, and hold a reading hour at five where parents will begin trickling in for pick-up. (We've found that the kids especially enjoy activities involving model magic!)
We'd like to thank the BoD, Bedrock Comics, and Burlington Coat Factory for making our holiday party magical. On a personal note, it was wonderful to see the kids as excited as they were. They were thrilled with their gifts, treats, (Big thanks to Ila for making cake pops!) music, and games. Since the holiday party, the kids have been enjoying their break, coming to Hoops for meals, outdoor play, activities, and reading. Since the holiday party, they've especially been enjoying bingo, as well as a host of winter-themed activities. In the meantime, we've been working hard on enrollment— we've all been out distributing flyers. We've re-examined and improved the enrollment process. (thanks Dahiana!) We're ready and looking forward to including more children in 2021, and we continue to work towards supporting the community through this difficult period. We hope that you stay safe and have a wonderful New Year's Eve and Day.
The Hoops and Homework Team
As we're moving into the fall, we've been hard at work refining our skills and creating opportunities for the kids. We've been meeting weekly for trainings, (including incident reporting with Alexis, and injury reporting with Judy) operation planning, and policy review. We've put in a lot of work to advance policy clarity and proper documentation.
We're grateful for a lot of support in the past month: Darlene and Bonnie for helping supply individual material boxes to aid students with online learning, Babson college re-engaging their tutor program through videoconferencing, and we've had our fittings for violin lessons soon to be led virtually by Mary and Hsuan. The students' individual boxes have been filled with classroom supplies and fidgets. They've great for letting kids participate in classes with minimal distraction, less group supply interaction, and more agency, as well as providing additional resources for better class experience. One student from Interfaith said that they enjoyed their call with Babson, citing their tutor as "funny, chill, positive." He's excited to work with him moving forward.
We've been having difficulty with weather cancellations of the Community Investors activities. The kids have especially enjoyed Power Play— especially with lengthy indoor lessons, the group outdoor activities are most welcome. We hope for more consistency and opportunities in the spring.
While we're excitedly waiting for the renovations for Interfaith center, Dahiana and Ken have put together activity packets for the kids to keep them engaged, provided meals through the YMCA and Loving Spoonfuls, and completed an amazing relocation of the near-entirety of the Interfaith center's interior! While it's been challenging to have lost the site, we're looking forward to new, better facilities.
At Pusan, after classes and lunches, we've been leading games outside and have made time for reflections and storytime. We're planning engaging STEAM activities for kids who have wiggles once class is done. The kids just made clay emblems, and are looking forward to painting them! On top of plans for projects we generated, we hope to collaborate with other programs in developing more options and activities for kids out of school. We celebrated Halloween with fun costumes and treats. We'll carry our cheer into November, and continue to work hard to provide excellent service and mentorship.
-The Hoops and Homework Team
As the district is returning to in-person learning at full capacity for elementary schools, the Pusan site will be returning to after-school hours effective April 5. (All students attending have opted into in-person) During the hybrid schedule, attendance would fluctuate drastically depending on the week. On weeks where very few kids were in attendance, we took the opportunity to do some spring cleaning— We heavily consolidated and reorganized our site inventory and documents.
The kids thoroughly enjoyed playing with the scooters and ripstik out in the spring weather! Thank you to our generous donor and to Don for coordinating this donation!
Students returning from school in the afternoon have been attending the program around a half hour later on average than previous years. Our understanding is that there have been complications with transportation as schools maneuver around the pandemic, but the end result is that we currently have less time to fulfill our schedule for most kids. An example of this has been our Babson mentorship: Currently at Interfaith, fewer kids are present while they're available. It's our hope that attendance will improve with time, but in the meantime, we will work towards establishing a better-fitting schedule. We will continue to monitor attendance trends, and will continue to investigate.
Our new Program Director, Kevin Lopez, has begun working with us at his office in the Interfaith Center. He's made the rounds introducing himself to us staff and the kids, and has already made progress in establishing needs and goals. We're excited to work with him to improve fulfillment of the vision of the program!
-The Hoops and Homework Team