Launching Programs to Accelerate Student Learning through the Bold Goals Academy

The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our education system will be unknown for many years, but early research from national sources and anecdotal insights from local teachers and parents point to a pending crisis. With anticipated learning loss spanning a range from four to 12 months or more, it is critical that families, school districts, out-of-school providers and social service organizations find new ways to work together to accelerate student learning and create pathways to academic success.

An instructor from A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club provides individualized assistance to a Bold Goals Academy student at Oliver Elementary.

The Bold Goals Academy program aims to foster that collaboration by connecting students to programs within their communities that provide proven, evidence-based strategies to help them learn and grow. Through high-intensity tutoring and out-of-school programs that are specifically designed to enhance in-class learning, students have the comprehensive support they need to thrive.

The academic challenges we are facing require innovative solutions that must extend beyond the school day. Building stronger partnerships among schools, out-of-school program providers and social service organizations is essential to putting students on a path to a brighter future.

The program goal is to launch intensive academic-acceleration programs within target communities to reach students who are most in need of additional support. The pilot phase was launched on June 10th with three sites coordinated by the YMCA of Greater Birmingham , six sites coordinated by A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club and one site coordinated by Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama.

Programs adhere to state standards, are designed in coordination with school staff and are tailored to the needs of individual students. Financial assistance is offered to ensure that program cost is not a barrier to student participation.

The long-term goal of the Bold Goals Academy is to foster collaboration between the school districts and K-8th grade afterschool providers to offer individualized academic assistance to students. UWCA is currently working with Birmingham City Schools and Jefferson County Schools to extend the program.

The Bold Goals Coalition is 200 organizations solving big community problems by aligning partners, resources and agendas.