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New toolkit helps OST educators make the case to leverage OST assets in school district reopening plans

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New toolkit helps OST educators make the case to leverage OST assets in school district reopening plans

By the Michigan After-School Partnership. This blog post was originally published on the MASP's blog and has been reposted with permission.

MASP’s new toolkit is filled with advice, sample letters, online resources and talking points for addressing school district decision-makers about leveraging OST assets in school reopening plans.

As Michigan school districts prepare for the opening of the 2020-2021 school year, big decisions will be made regarding the educational needs and safety concerns of K-12 schoolchildren. Many of those will be made at the local school district level regarding plans for in-person lessons, virtual learning or a hybrid of the two. Michigan Out-of-School Time providers have been examining those questions since the prior school year ended abruptly, and stand ready to assist with school district planning efforts.

To help, the Michigan After-School Partnership, working with the Afterschool Alliance, has created “An Outreach Tool for Michigan: Connecting Out-of-School Time with Return-to-School Plans.” The toolkit identifies ways OST providers can leverage their community assets to assist in engaging students and families this fall. The document provides a guide on reaching out tolocal districts, talking points, templates of letters to send decision-makers (available in English, Spanish and Arabic), and other online resources to help make the case for engaging OST in school reopening plans.

"Parents need to feel confident that there are options for safe and supportive learning environments for their children during the time they are out of school or learning at a distance when they return," said MASP Executive Director Mary Sutton. "OST programs and school-age child care can be critical partners in helping to support local schools in achieving equitable plans that ensure all kids have access to learning opportunities and the supports they need to emerge from this crisis strong, resilient and hopeful."

Timely Resources for OST Programs and Advocates:

An Outreach Tool for Michigan: Connecting Out-of-School Time with Return-to-School Plans

Michigan’s OST Programs: Partnering with Schools to Reopen and Meet Student Needs 1-pager

Blueprint for How Afterschool Programs, Community Partners Can Help

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