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Jax Shines initiative gains momentum and national recognition

The Jax Shines Coalition for Afterschool and Summer Learning continues to gain momentum. Shortly after unveiling Jax Shines, the Jacksonville Children’s Commission announced a commitment to rebid all of its afterschool contracts. The new contact guidelines will be based on new expectations in support of quality programming which will provide an opportunity to achieve better outcomes through more program designs following research-based practices. The rebidding process will start before the end of the year.

The final Jax Shines report, which outlines some of these best practices, was featured on the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) website as an initiative in Jacksonville that is working to create a system of high quality afterschool and summer learning programs. NSLA is “...the only national nonprofit focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing summer learning opportunities for all youth. NSLA offers expertise and support for programs and communities and advocates for summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education.”

The Jax Shines report was featured just months after White House officials announced they would be partnering with NSLA and other organizations to launch the Summer Opportunity Project. The White House project was created to “..encourage investment in programs supporting summer meals and learning.”

Some highlights from the Summer Opportunity Project that will be beneficial as Jacksonville rebids their afterschool and summer learning contracts are:

  • A Federal Resource Guide was released that will help agencies identify federal funding for summer learning.

  • The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will contribute up to $15 million to facilitate out of school service learning projects that will help students to pay for college.

  • The Department of Labor distributed 20 grants to communities to found ways to employ students for the summer and year round.

  • The Department of Education launched a Summer Learning portal that houses resources for the development and implementation of high quality summer learning programs.

It appears that Jax Shines has been launched at just the right time to ensure our students receive the highest quality afterschool and summer learning programs. The Jacksonville Public Education Fund, as a member of the Jax Shines Coalition, is committed to helping Jacksonville become a national example when it comes to public education by helping to create a citywide partnership of excellent afterschool and summer learning programs that give all youth the opportunities and supports to develop the skills that enable them to thrive in school and in life.

To review the findings and recommendations from the Jax Shines report, click here.