Helping families by mapping out-of-school activities

How would you like a searchable, mapped out database of places where your child can go for positive activities outside of school? Community Achieves and our Department of Support Services now have the chance to create just such a service thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Ready by 21 Expanded Learning Opportunities Challenge. The grant, funded by the School Superintendents Association and the Forum for Youth Investment, lets us and our partners create an inventory of extended learning opportunities and providers across the city. Extended learning opportunities mean after school, on weekends, breaks and summers, and in multiple and diverse settings.

The inventory we create will inform the work of Metro Schools and our partners in order to be more strategic and efficient in providing quality extended learning opportunities to targeted populations and students, as well as expand the number of students served. Our goal is to make this inventory available through a user-friendly mapping system, such as a Google map, so that students and families can simply enter an address to find nearby opportunities for enrichment, remediation, recreation, internships and service. This inventory will also allow us to identify gaps in services and then work on meeting more needs in underserved areas.

Nashville is a city that is rich with youth-serving resources and programs, but finding and accessing them can be challenging for many families. We recognize that more students must be able to access these programs. These opportunities validate the learning that takes place in school in a way that is youth centered, and allows students to expand their knowledge and reinforce skills.

The inventory project will be led by a coalition of MNPS staff, community partners, and students. We also plan to engage Overton students from the Academy of Information Technology to help develop and build the system. The grant will last through August of 2014, and will provide Metro Schools with the necessary funds to purchase and build an inventory, and to convene partners and schools in order to create a user-friendly and accessible system.

Look for more details in the months to come. We are excited about this project, and ready to move forward!