The Big Lift, a San Mateo County preschool to third grade initiative, administers four evidence-based strategies with the aim of increasing the percentage of students reading proficiently by third grade. This collective impact initiative provides high-quality preschool, summer learning, family engagement and attendance programming to the county’s youngest learners.
The 2020 summer learning program Big Lift Inspiring Summers has partnered with school districts, San Mateo County Libraries, and Bell Xcel to serve over 500 rising kindergarten to third-grade students. Inspiring Summers aims to support students’ academic and social-emotional skills and interrupt summer learning loss, an educational phenomenon that often happens to children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
This year’s Big Lift Inspiring Summers program is in full swing. Although prior Big Lift Inspiring Summers’ programming has included as many as seven communities, the 2020 program has a COVID-related revised structure. This summer’s programming takes place in seven locations within four communities including South San Francisco, Daly City, San Bruno Park, and La Honda-Pescadero.
Children are excited to be back on their school campus for the first time. They are wearing their masks when needed, staying within their bubbles, following bathroom rules and patiently waiting each day for temperature and health checks. Parents, who are also following COVID-related rules, have also expressed how thankful they are for the program. Every day, teachers and facilitators come up with new and creative instructional strategies, like teaching a child learning English how to make the “p” sound when the teacher has to wear a mask. Further, site principals, nurses, instructional coaches, library coaches and program leads are making children and families feel safe and welcome.
Additionally, the program gives teachers time to feel comfortable in the classroom, establish safe routines and protocols and develop instructional strategies for COVID-related learning restructuring prior to the start of school this fall. Inspiring Summers faculty, families, staff, and leadership have expressed deep gratitude for the remarkable pivot to programming utilizing COVID-related guidance and best practices.
- “Jefferson Elementary School District was an incredible success! I only wish I had a crystal ball a month ago to let families know everything was going to be better than ok. I only hope this gives families and staff hope for Fall.”-- Jennifer Larocque, JESD Program Director
The Big Lift collaborative is led by the County of San Mateo, the San Mateo County Office of Education, and Silicon Valley Community Foundation. These three lead agencies have been working together since the mid-1990s, when they formed the Peninsula Partnership Leadership Council (PPLC). The Big Lift initiative has partnered with more than 300 organizations and 450 county leaders to improve educational outcomes for children in poverty.
To learn more about the Inspiring Summers program, visit the The Big Lift website. Additional information is also available on location-specific Inspiring Summers’ web pages. Be sure to visit San Bruno Park Inspiring Summers website to view a sampling of this year’s creative content, which includes their wonderful “Unmasking Video BLIS 2020” video!