• IDRA Newsletter • May 2020 •
IDRA has long worked with schools and communities to close the digital divide for the most vulnerable students. With assistance from the San Antonio Area Foundation and the United Way of San Antonio, IDRA is now providing its popular Semillitas de Aprendizaje bilingual storybooks to families who have no access to online education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Digital Inclusion Alliance San Antonio, one in four households in San Antonio does not have internet access. Students from low-income households without devices or connectivity are most at risk for interruption of their schooling that will have long-lasting impacts on their futures. Nowhere is this trend most worrisome than with pre-K and kindergarten students who thrive on solid educational practices and culturally-sustaining resources.
IDRA knows from its research on best practices in early childhood education that hard-copy books and interactive learning best build solid literacy foundations for young learners. IDRA is providing over 5,000 of its Semillitas de Aprendizaje bilingual books to families in the Southwest and Edgewood school districts through the districts’ food distribution, communication and paper-lesson delivery systems. IDRA also will provide webinars, classroom sets and teacher’s editions to districts for use with students once school commences in the fall.
“We celebrate the important role parents are playing to make distance learning work for children,” said IDRA President & CEO Celina Moreno. “We are proud to partner with the San Antonio Area Foundation to counter the devastating digital divide that has left vulnerable populations in Edgewood and Southwest ISDs with little to no access to books or resources as schools scramble to find solutions.”
“We are impressed by IDRA’s commitment to meeting the educational needs of young children and their families during this crisis,” said Marjie French, CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation. “Good books and great stories inspire learning and hope, which are not only key ingredients for successful students, but for resilient communities.”
Edgewood ISD Superintendent Dr. Eduardo Hernández said, “We value the collaboration with IDRA and are grateful for the support to our bilingual students through the Semillitas de Aprendizaje storybooks.”
This distribution is made possible by a grant from the COVID-19 Response Fund, a community fund jointly managed by the San Antonio Area Foundation and the United Way of San Antonio. The fund is comprised of nearly 30 caring businesses, donor advised funds, philanthropic foundations, and government entities.
“This generous donation of books will provide parents an array of engagement activities for our prekinder and kinder students while enhancing learning opportunities for our young learners,” said Southwest ISD Superintendent Dr. Lloyd Verstuyft. “ Thank you to IDRA and San Antonio Area Foundation for their donation to SWISD.”
With support from the U.S. Department of Education and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, IDRA developed the education materials, which have been in use in classrooms in Arizona, Texas and New York. Each set contains 10 books and a set of 20 letters, or cartitas, for parents with activities related to the stories. The cartitas include sections on celebrating heritage and culture with activities to do at home.
[©2020, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the May 2020 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]