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DSM Summer Education Programming

Youth Education Panel

The Greater Des Moines Partnership recently hosted a virtual panel on education programming and opportunities within Greater Des Moines (DSM) as we look ahead to get our kids back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic. In March of 2020, The Partnership went to work creating programming and partnerships to get students connected to online learning, as well as began DSM Tutor Connection, working together with nonprofits, DSM schools and more. Panelists included:

Jay Byers, the Partnership’s CEO, reiterated that today’s kids are tomorrow’s talent and workforce and the importance of education issues within the local community.

Loss of Learning in the State

With changing degrees of educational disruption, student opportunities have also been varied. Niebling said that data is saying when comparing literacy skills from the fall of 2019 to fall of 2020, anywhere from 6-21% fewer K-3 students were where they needed to be in a typical schoolyear. Remy said that as Iowa assessment data comes in, WDMCS will continue to compare data, but she reiterated the district is seeing similar gaps in learning. Willoughby agreed, citing loss of learning among secondary DMPS students who became frontline workers during the pandemic, while others worked from home, giving up learning to help provide for their family and be a support system within the community.

Investments in Summer Programming

Preparing for summer 2021, Niebling said is already different from the summer of 2020. In the next few weeks, the Iowa Department of Education will lay out parameters and resources for schools to use and implement based on the needs of each district. WDMCS has offered Stretching Minds in order to close skill gaps. This summer, that program will continue and expand, changing the focus to literacy for the elementary level and literacy and math literacy at the middle school level. At the high school level, individualized credit recovery and unit recovery will be added. Weilloughby discussed a secondary transition program at Central Campus, expansion of several credit recovery program, including the Flex Academy Studios and other programs and steps being taken at DMPS to counter learning loss. Bennett discussed ensuring students across DSM feel safe and connected. United Way of Central Iowa’s goal is to work with school districts and nonprofits to make that happen.

Learn more about the how the pandemic may change the approach of education within the state in the future, meeting students where they’re at and supporting their education and life goals, how the business community can help with education gaps and more.

Watch the entire webinar below:


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Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.