In any other year, August’s arrival means students and parents start to eagerly gear up for the school year ahead. As the onset of the 2020-2021 school year looms, however, many are wondering how best to navigate a world still dominated by COVID-19. This uncertainty applies as much to early childhood learning as to post-secondary schools. Future Ready Collier is keeping an eye on school reopening plans and safety precautions being adopted.
Even—or especially—during times of unprecedented disruption, Future Ready Collier seeks to be an asset for the community. A collective of over 60 educational nonprofits, agencies, and community stakeholders, Future Ready Collier’s mission is to support students throughout their educational experience. Importantly, this extends to an appreciation that academic success is contingent on factors outside the classroom. In addition to aggregating its own materials, Future Ready Collier receives and distributes resources from its partners.
Only an hour from downtown Naples, but a world apart, Immokalee is home to Pathways Early Education Center. In operation for more than 56 years, Pathways ably serves its mission of creating educational opportunities for Immokalee’s youngest and most at-need children, with curricula for infant through pre-kindergarten. Pathways is newer to Future Ready Collier than some of their peers, joining in 2018 when Beth Hatch assumed leadership. Their eagerness to contribute has been manifest since day one.
Collier County families with children who will enter kindergarten during the 2020-2021 school year may be eligible to apply for free access to the Waterford UPSTART Summer Learning Path school-readiness program. Active across 15 states, UPSTART reaches the most at-risk kids in a community. In addition, program leaders are hoping to reach families whose income, employment, or access to federally funded preschool have been impacted by COVID-19.