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Letter: Say Yes Buffalo intervenes to add summer instruction

Say Yes Buffalo intervenes to add summer instruction

As a former Buffalo Public School parent and advocate for our city’s children, I encourage each of you to hold our school district accountable for executing what has been promised – and what is necessary – for the academic success of our students.

As we all know, summer instruction is proven to effectively combat summer learning loss, and is important to student preparedness in the next grade.

When Say Yes Buffalo learned that for this summer, parents of students pre-K through sixth grade would not be offered any summer programming, it used its unique ability to intervene and advocate for families. Say Yes quickly and successfully convened the school district and the community to form an agreement that not only provides for programming this summer, but commits the district to funding and supporting programming for the next six years.

A neighborhood model evolved allowing students to receive the instruction in their community versus being bused to their school, which is often not in the same neighborhood. The Religious Leaders Task Force put out a clarion call to pastors of all denominations, asking them to answer and serve the needs of the children. The response has been noteworthy, with half the camp locations being churches.

By using a neighborhood model, costs were cut and organizations that are willing to help can now support the schools and work with the children of our community by hosting a camp location. These sites are following a prescribed model that includes grade-appropriate academics as the priority, along with recreational activity.

Say Yes Buffalo and its partners know that this model is not perfect and the timing at which it is being rolled out is not ideal; however, not having any programming at all is unacceptable. We look forward to what is now ahead thanks to Say Yes, yet again putting students and families first. In closing, I invite all who are interested in participating in the camps to see the locations at SayYesBuffalo.org/SummerCamp.

Rev. Rachelle S. Robinson

First Shiloh Baptist Church

Co-Chairwoman, Say Yes Buffalo

Religious Leaders Task Force