What is the Community School Initiative(CSI)?
The Community School Initiative is a partnership between the Youth Association for Academics, Athletics, and Character Education (YAAACE) and Spirit of Math offering extra-curricular supplementary programs outside of school hours. The goal of the program is to close the opportunity gap for racialized and under-resourced communities. The program offers the Spirit of Math curriculum to students in grades two to eight supported by parents, coaches, and Ontario Certified Teachers(OCT).
This website will continuously be updated as the research project progresses.
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Scope of the Project
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it much more difficult for YAAACE to provide the supports needed by members of the Jane and Finch community. Toronto’s northwest cluster of neighbourhoods, including Jane and Finch, have experienced higher rates of COVID-19 than other neighbourhoods in the city. The pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges and presents new hardships for marginalized communities and families associated with loss of income, lack of access to social support, increased care responsibilities, and increased likelihood of contracting COVID-19.
Access to high-quality supports and resources are critical to mitigate systemic inequities impacting children, youth, and residents. Holistic and interdisciplinary community programming can minimize the achievement gap by providing equitable educational opportunities to students from higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds. At present, however, there is little academic or applied knowledge of best practices for effectively transitioning face-to-face community programs to online formats.
The overall goal of this research project is to contribute to the literature on providing effective online remote programming for racialized and under-resourced communities during and post COVID-19. The research team in collaboration with Spirit of Math, YAAACE parents, coaches, teachers, and youth advisors will conduct surveys and focus groups to:
1) Assess the effectiveness of YAAACE’s Community School Initiative program as it transitions from in-person to virtual remote delivery.
2) Identify barriers preventing access and engagement in YAAACE’s remote learning programs.
3) Identify effective remote instruction programming and pedagogies that can supplement the education programs currently offered by YAAACE.