ASU Helps MPS Students Whose Education was Interrupted by the Pandemic!

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ASU Partnership Helps MPS Students Whose Education was Interrupted by the Pandemic!

- College of Ed. helps MPS K-5 students in summertime programs to enhance literacy, math skills and have fun. 

 By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU 

ASU is partnering with the Montgomery Education Foundation (MEF) in a new program whose goal is to help Montgomery's public school children close the educational learning gap caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The new program is called MGM LEAPS (Learning and Enrichment Acceleration Program for our Students) and will take place this summer over a six-week period from June 14 – July 23 within four city parks and recreation centers across Montgomery. The goal of MGM Leaps is to have a positive impact on approximately 200 Montgomery Public School (MPS) K-5 students through an enhanced literacy and math curriculum. The program will also include art instruction, studies concerning the Montgomery Civil Rights Movement and some extracurricular activities thrown in just for fun. 


The dean of ASU's College of Education, Dr. Nicole Yvette Strange-Martin, is overseeing the University's participation in the program. She said this will not only help raise the educational benchmark of MPS students, but will also allow ASU students who are education majors to enhance their teaching skills while fulfilling necessary educational objectives. 

"ASU's College of Education students will take on teaching roles this summer to help disadvantaged MPS students within this program who have fallen behind due to the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting their cycle of learning, especially for gaps that may have occurred in both literacy and mathematics," Strange-Martin observed. "This also gives our ASU education students another avenue to prepare them to be outstanding teachers by allowing them all important classroom teaching experiences, exposure as mentors and obtaining needed teaching field-hours." 

ASU's students will be joined in the program with other education majors from Faulkner University and Huntingdon College, as well as employees from the City Parks and Recreation Department. The joint efforts will be coordinated by the Montgomery Education Foundation. 

"The beauty of this partnership is to infuse academic programs so parents and students can have a full day,” said Ann Sikes, MEF's executive director. “The students will have a safe place to be, they’ll be fed breakfast and lunch and that’s the kind of thing parents like to see their kids participate in during the summer.”  

Sikes said the entire program will cost $125,000, which will come from the federal CARES Act relief fund, a one-time allocation of monies for this program. Because the summer LEAPS program will not likely bring everyone up to speed on the COVID-19 learning gap, Sikes said it will be an on-going program. 


Strange-Martin said that Alabama State University's College of Education's faculty and staff will provide a number of services for the MGM LEAPS teaching program this summer, including reviewing and delivering  feedback to the MGM LEAPS academic framework, promoting recruitment of undergraduate and graduate students for paid summer positions within the MGM LEAPS summer learning and extended learning programs, and participating with ongoing review and program assessment during the implementation phase in the spring and summer of 2021. 

ASU's students will work with the MPS students in hands-on instruction and will serve as MGM LEAPS program leaders who will advance classroom learning in reading and math curriculum in morning sessions and assist in the afternoons with a variety of Parks and Recreation programming, including archery, horseback riding, swimming, kayaking, performing arts, STEM activities, gardening and sports. 


"This MGM LEAPS program that is being staffed by students from the University's College of Education…draws upon ASU's rich teaching heritage and helps promote future advancement to the Montgomery Public School system's young K-5 students so they will have a better educational future," she added. 

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.