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Press Release

JASON Learning Partners with United Way for Summer Step-Up Program

By September 13, 2021No Comments


HOLYOKE, MASS – September 13, 2021 – JASON Learning today announced additional details about its partnership with United Way to bring its Summer Step-Up Program for early childhood STEM education to four districts in the state of Massachusetts. 

The collaboration will train educators to create an effective learning environment for young children to catch up on STEM education following COVID-related school shutdowns, which, according to teachers, ​​has impacted learning for many students, with the youngest learners feeling the most acute effects.

This training program will provide a cohort of up to 20 educators and guides with access to JASON’s early childhood curricula along with a host of other programming for K-12 that includes hands-on lessons, videos, games and more for the entire 2021-22 school-year. It will also include access to JASON Explorations, an at-home project-based learning system for families, and two four-hour Professional Development workshops for teachers via live, remote sessions. These districts will receive supplemental materials kits provided that include supplies for hands-on activities and featured literature selections.

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care partnered with United Way to fund this work to provide early childhood STEM education to young learners. “United Way is honored to be working with the Baker-Polito Administration to distribute more than $7 million in Summer Step Up funding across 30 school districts and 84 non-profit organizations in the Commonwealth. With the help of JASON Learning, we are bringing Summer Step Up to life and fostering school-community partnerships that we hope will continue to grow and impact young learners,” said Sarah Link of United Way.

The Massachusetts organizations and communities involved include Boys & Girls Club of Marshfield, The Clark Memorial YMCA of Winchendon, Holyoke Public Schools, and the Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham and Wakefield. 

Holyoke, Massachusetts was an early adopter for JASON’s Early Childhood STEM lessons, which feature role models that young children recognize and relate to, including doctors, nurses, construction workers, and school building engineers that make STEM learning even more relevant, authentic, and effective for our students. JASON introduces STEM concepts through hands-on activities and games that make learning fun, interesting, and engaging. 

Patti Chavez, Director of Early Childhood Learning for Holyoke Public Schools, said, “We are thrilled that Holyoke could set the example for other districts in Massachusetts, and hope that this kind of programming can carry into the future. This investment in development of educators will only lead to a stronger early education system and curriculum as time goes on.”

“STEM professional development for early childhood guides continues to be sporadic. When it occurs for early childhood leaders, it is often exclusively focused on content rather than an integrated approach that incorporates lifelong skills and habits of mind,” said Eleanor Smalley, President of JASON Learning. 

United Way and JASON Learning will offer the online learning resources for the entire school year, providing supplemental learning opportunities as the school year progresses, whether in person or online. 


About JASON Learning

JASON is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1989 by Dr. Robert D. Ballard. JASON provides curriculum and learning experiences in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for K-12 students, and high-quality professional development for teachers. JASON has been used successfully in a wide variety of formal and informal education environments.

About United Way

United Way is an international network of over 1,800 local nonprofit fundraising affiliates. Based in Alexandria, VA, United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.

Media Contact

JASON Learning:Patrick Shea, (312) 502-0878

United Way: Brigid Boyd, (617) 624-8252