Southbridge Public Schools Receives Over $300,000 in Summer Step Up Funding to Support Young Learners

Southbridge, MA - Southbridge Public Schools, the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, and The United Way of South Central Massachusetts have joined forces to expand and enhance summer education programs for young learners. Southbridge Public Schools has received Summer Step Up funds to address the critical academic and social-emotional needs of early childhood learners and to prepare them for a successful transition to the school setting in the fall.

In May, the Baker-Polito Administration announced almost $60 million in funding across the Commonwealth to support summer learning. In Southbridge, the allocated funds will support the Summer Step Up program for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade students. This program is administered in close collaboration with the United Way of South Central Massachusetts and the Tri-Community Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts.

The Summer Step-Up program will build students’ early literacy skills and aid them in learning the routines adopted by Southbridge Public Schools, along with the social-emotional skills needed to succeed within the classroom and beyond.

Summer Step Up programs engage young learners who may have missed learning and development opportunities during the pandemic and provides them with a smooth transition from YMCA preschool and daycare into Kindergarten,” says Kathleen Seifert, Director of Teaching, Learning, and Talent Development for Southbridge Public Schools.

 “School readiness and learning preparation for these young students is a critical part of the United Way’s mission of early education and 3rd grade reading comprehension,” said Mary O’Coin, Executive Director, United Way of South-Central MA.  “It has been documented children who are engaged and reading at an early age are more likely to continue their education and be successful. The United Way wants to help make that possibility a reality.”

 “The YMCA is thrilled to be partnering again this year with Southbridge Public Schools for the Summer Step Up program. Our young children will benefit from expanded learning opportunities and building a strong foundation for success in school,” says Jenna Beaton, Director of Child Development Services at the Tri-Community Family Branch of the YMCA.

 Programs sites will be located at Eastford Road Elementary School and at the Tri-Community Family Branch of the YMCA in Southbridge on Marcy Street.