RFF Shout Out: Springboard Collaborative

02 Jul, 2021

RFF Shout Out: Springboard Collaborative

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Image and logo courtesy of Springboard Collaborative

Meet Springboard Collaborative, a national organization with local impact, set out to coach educators and families to help kids learn to read by 4th grade. Springboard was started by a teacher, Alejandro Gibes de Gac, who saw firsthand in his classroom the impact of summer learning loss on his students. Students often spent the beginning of the year making up for summer learning loss, additionally, this tended to be exacerbated for students from low-income households. Gibes de Gac experienced the widespread and misguided notion that parents from low-income households could not be assets to their child’s education, and wanted to set the record straight — families, no matter their personal education experience or socio-economic status, are assets and, in fact, best positioned to help their students learn to read.

Springboard’s approach encourages teachers and parents to set goals together, practice evidence-based reading strategies, measure progress, and celebrate success. Summer and afterschool programs include daily reading instruction for PK-4th grade students, and typically run for 5 or 10 weeks. Students see reading gains of 3-4 months on average. West Coast Executive Director, Teresa Arriaga says, “Our teachers talk about how the family workshops are the key driver in the changes that they see for their students.”

Image courtesy of Springboard Collaborative

Arriaga joined Springboard Collaborative during the COVID-19 pandemic. Springboard’s mission and focus on working in collaboration with families and educators to support literacy development really appealed to Arriaga, given her background in family engagement and college access, and the understanding of the difference a family’s involvement in their child’s education can make. Arriaga says that although the timing of her new role has presented challenges, she sees the incredible benefits realized through leveraging technology during this time. “Since the pandemic, the norm became communicating virtually, which has allowed our teachers to be able to share their learnings across state lines. Our teachers are now able to experience national professional development while staying local.” In addition to increased communication across Springboard sites, Arriaga emphasized that there’s been a broader realization amongst the education community of the importance of engaging parents, and really viewing them as members of the education team for each child.

When asked what 3 wishes Springboard would have granted today, Arriaga’s responses all followed the same theme, that all children would read at grade-level. They would wish for:

  • First year teachers to have family partnership and engagement training embedded into their preparation programs,
  • All families to have the tools needed to support high quality reading experiences at home for their students – regardless of their personal reading ability or literacy levels,
  • A DIY reading level assessment tool to help families gauge how their child is doing with reading at home.

As Springboard looks ahead, they’re excited about new partnerships with teachers, paraprofessionals, literacy coaches, and community-based organizations in after school spaces, to deliver Springboard’s curriculum. Partnerships developed thus far have resulted in the ability to reach more student and families, and have relieved classroom teachers from making up for summer learning loss and catching students up to reading level alone.

When we asked Arriaga how the community could support Springboard’s mission, she stated that they “want people to embrace the idea that families can and should be engaged in their child’s learning.”

Interested in learning more? Visit Springboard Collaborative’s website and follow them on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube. Subscribe to their blog for articles for teachers, education leaders, and families like:

written by Kate Ray

Kate Ray joined the RFF team in 2019. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kate spent two years as a middle-school science teacher, first in Fort Worth, Texas, and most recently in Oakland with Aspire Public Schools.
Kate’s favorite childhood book was Matilda by Roald Dahl.
Her hope for Oakland students is that each will be provided with the tools and support they need to develop and pursue their passions.