YAAACE is a community organization that seeks to engage children and youth from marginalized and under-resourced communities through participation in year round comprehensive programming and activities:
YAAACE’s mandate is to build capacity in all children and youth thus enhancing their capacity to become twenty first century learners and global citizens.
The Summer Institute represents YAAACE’s continued commitment to actively engage children and youth by providing them with rich educational and social experiences. Our camp accommodates students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8. They use a robust curriculum that has an emphasis on STEM, Literacy and the Arts each summer.
RESEARCH PROVEN RESULTS
Standardized testing scores show a two-tiered public education system exists in Canada. In Toronto, for example, schools in the Jane and Finch community consistently score lower on provincial literacy and math tests than the city’s average by 11.3% in primary school, 14% in middle school, and 24% in secondary school.
In response to achievement gaps in the two-tiered public school system, community groups, such as YAAACE, operate Supplement Education Programs (SEPs) that aim to improve math and literacy levels by offering academic instruction after school hours, on weekends, and during summer breaks, often combined with unconventional activities like sports or arts.
During the summer of 2019, this research documented a 13% improvement in YAAACE's student average literacy scores. In math, problem-solving and computational skills went up a grade level for 61% and 59% of the students, respectively. These improvements occurred despite challenges with student attendance, limited program resources, inadequate support from the Toronto District School Board, and limited teacher training opportunities due to teachers’ union involvement.
Our conclusions add to the body of research on the role SEPs could play in creating a public education system that offers equality of opportunity to all students.