Every once in a while you meet a young person who is so bright, energetic and dedicated to his or her calling that you want to do everything you can to help them succeed.
That’s how I felt about Alejando.
I first met Alejandro Gac-Artigas through my relationships with Teach for America. I just knew that he would grow to be a great educator.
Brinker Capital provided financial support to help Alejandro earn his master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania. We felt that it was an investment in not only Alejandro, but also the thousands of lives we knew he had the potential to impact.
It was a good investment. Alejandro has made us very proud.
After Alejandro’s first year teaching, he noticed something that caused him great concern. His returning students’ reading skills were about 20% behind where they had left off at the end of the prior year. When he shared his observation with other teachers, they put a name to it. They called it, “the summer slide.”
The Summer Slide
With limited access to books or computers and fewer high-quality educational interactions with their parents, elementary-aged students in low-income communities regress academically over the summer. Through his research, Alejandro discovered that summer reading losses amount to a two-year wedge between low- and higher-income peers by eighth grade.
The Springboard Collaborative
Determined to make sure his students didn’t fall behind, Alejandro founded the Springboard Collaborative. Springboard Collaborative combines targeted student instruction with parent training in an incentivized system that closes the literacy gap. He piloted a summer enrichment program in 2010. It was a tremendous success. The Teach for America organization was so impressed with Alejandro’s efforts, it named him, Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
We’re delighted to support Alejandro’s efforts to expand Springboard Collaborative in an effort to equalize the educational opportunities afforded to all young people.