CLEARWATER – The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County recently announced it was expanding funding to provide more children the opportunity to attend Summer Bridge.
Summer Bridge is a highly-successful academic summer program offered by Pinellas County Schools to prevent and address summer learning loss.
According to a press release from JWB, this decision was a collaborative response between JWB and Pinellas County Schools to recent demands for expanded wrap-around services at Summer Bridge elementary school sites to meet working parents’ needs.
JWB originally invested a little over $2 million for Summer Bridge wrap-around services for about 2,000 students. However, recent demand by elementary school principals at Summer Bridge sites was so great that JWB decided to invest another $175,000 to meet the needs of qualifying students on wait lists whose working parents are in need of wrap-around services, but cannot afford them.
This additional investment is projected to serve another 250 elementary students attending Summer Bridge this year.
Summer Bridge is an academic program provided by Pinellas County Schools that operates five hours per day, four days per week and six weeks during summer break. JWB’s investments support families and increase access for students by providing quality care from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, all day on Fridays, and for the other four weeks of summer. This wrap-around support allows working parents to have a seamless, safe and quality option for their child’s summer care.
“Wrap-around services are designed to give more children the opportunity to participate in Summer Bridge,” said Dr. Marcie Biddleman, JWB executive director. “JWB’s investments allow more children access to Summer Bridge, so working parents can be assured their children are receiving high-quality care with social and recreational services that round out their child’s academic day, week and summer.”
JWB’s Summer Bridge wrap-around services are currently offered at every Summer Bridge elementary school site and provided through subcontracts with four Pinellas County agencies: R’Club; YMCA of the Suncoast; YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg; and city of Largo. To qualify, students must be eligible for free or reduced price school lunches.
The Juvenile Welfare Board believes all children matter and should have equal access to academic programming that improves their opportunities for school success, one of three areas of focus for the publically-funded organization committed to strengthening Pinellas County children and families.
JWB Summer Bridge wrap-around services allow students access to educational programming that mitigates summer learning loss. Research shows that students, on average, lose two months of math and reading skills over summer break.
Summer learning loss can mean students who already struggle, or who may be a grade level or more behind, fall further back. Plus, students from low-income families face disproportionately-high losses during the summer months, particularly in math skills which aren’t necessarily integrated into their daily routines. JWB’s investments help even the playing field, so more children have the opportunity to succeed in school.