Y Program Teaching Kids the ABC’s

February 22, 2012
By

YMCA Samuel Adams after-school teacher Katya Starostina works with Adams student, Adoni, on his reading as part of new program launched by the Y and Boston Public Schools to improve literacy.

In a move to help local kids gain literacy skills and meet new Boston Public School’s (BPS) Acceleration Agenda goals, the East Boston YMCA has launched an ambitious reading program in its after-school sites.

With the BPS setting a goal to have all children “reading by the end of grade 1 and reading to learn in grade 3, the Y’s after-school site directors are partnering with local elementary school educators to create a curriculum that directly supports children who are struggling with their reading skills.

“The Y is known for a high-quality educational experience in our after school child care programs, but this partnership with BPS takes learning to a new level,” said East Boston Y Executive Director Joey Cuzzi. “By aligning our curriculum and teaching methods with the BPS classroom experience, Y teachers can reinforce what students are learning in their classroom every day. We are committed to helping our students reach their full potential and become strong readers by grade 3.”

Since October, the Y’s after-school site directors like Katya Starostina at the Samuel Adams School have been spending a minimum of ten hours a week working alongside classroom teachers. Cuzzi said the site directors have actively participated in classroom activities to better understand the BPS teaching methods for reading, writing and math.

The site director then trains their Y staff to implement similar methods in the after school programs. The partnership is benefiting the schools, students and their families.

“Katya’s work at the Samuel Adams has been very helpful, not just to the students she works with one-on-one and in small groups, but also to the teachers at the Y by sharing the learning procedures that are being used at the school level, so these same learning routines and procedures can be used at the Y, providing students with continuity,” said Adams School Principal Margarita Ruiz. “Equally important, Katya and her staff are able to explain these routines to their families of the after school students they interact with on a daily basis, expanding this continuity to the home of our students.”

Under the new initiative, Y after-school teacher engagement activities during the school day now include facilitating small group reading; conducting read-aloud activities; one-on-one literacy intervention; child guidance; additional support to English language learners and diverse learners; support of school specialists in math, science and art; and engaging with in-school committees on instruction and intervention issues.

In Eastie, the Y currently operates after school child care programs at the Donald McKay, Curtis Guild, Samuel Adams, Patrick Kennedy and Otis Schools, and on site at its Bremen Street and Ashley Street locations.  Currently, 254 children are enrolled in Y after-school programs, and 93 attend the early education and care center on Bremen Street– made affordable for local families through state subsidies and Y financial assistance.

A portion of the funding for after school program and early education scholarships comes directly from the Y’s Reach Out for Youth Campaign. Every dollar raised through Reach Out stays in Eastie and help families in need.

The Y’s annual Reach Out for Youth Breakfast will be held on April 5th at the Boston Logan Hilton Hotel.

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