It’s hard to believe that SCRI launched in March 2020. March feels like both a lifetime and a minute ago. Almost immediately after we launched, the world as we knew it turned upside down and we had to wrestle with the pandemic and the unforeseen challenges it presented for young people, families, educators, schools, and summer and afterschool providers. One constant during this turbulent time was our approach to tackling tough challenges: we began by asking questions. What do our partners need most from us? What are we uniquely positioned to learn and do? How can we use what we know to make things easier for others?
Our answers have guided us to use the practical knowledge we’ve accumulated over the years to address big (and timely) topics, like assessing and improving quality in a remote learning environment, evaluating the outcomes of remote learning, and serving students and families who lack access to technology or internet.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done in 2020 and the new knowledge SCRI and its partners have created for the field. Highlights include:
- Research briefs on rapid-cycle quality improvement practices and student perspectives on SEL
- Tools to make life easier, like our Remote Quality Reflection Tool, an impact report for sharing program outcomes with key stakeholders, and a results dashboard for tracking program progress
- Expert interviews with researchers and thought leaders working to strengthen youth programs
- Case studies reminding us of the power of working together across sectors, the virtues of virtual platforms for scaling promising practices widely, and the powerful potential of high-quality summer learning
And we’re not finished yet! Today we’re releasing our final research brief of 2020: Building Bridges During Challenging Times: How Remote Summer Programs Kept Youth, Families, and Staff Engaged in Learning During COVID-19. This new resource explores student, staff, and family engagement in BellXcel Remote through end-of-program stakeholder surveys. Learn how BellXcel’s partners stepped up to maintain learning and engagement over the summer, like helping students plant their own vegetable gardens at home and engaging in regular, personal communication with families.
While it wasn’t year we had planned, we are so amazed by the ingenuity we’ve seen from educators, families, and students alike. We are celebrating all of you this season and wishing you a warm, safe, and restful holiday.
Brenda McLaughlin, Managing Partner, SCRI