School enrollment has felt the impact of the current pandemic. Way to Grow was recently in the news as part of a larger discussion on school enrollment and the drastic choices families face. In a Star Tribune article from October 19, our CEO Carolyn Smallwood outlines the challenges families face: “Pandemic pushes down Minnesota kindergarten enrollment.”
“Carolyn Smallwood, CEO of Way to Grow, a Minneapolis-based early learning nonprofit that aims to address achievement gaps and support families in Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, said some families have struggled to find spots in scaled-down kindergarten programs. Others, especially those with parents juggling multiple jobs to keep the family afloat, realized they couldn’t balance work with supervising their kindergartner’s distance learning and decided to keep them out of school for the year.
Smallwood said vastly different kindergarten experiences this year are likely to exacerbate the state’s already significant achievement gaps, particularly because the first years of school set the course for future studies.
‘Now we have a situation where they’re not in kindergarten, not receiving the quality of services that is needed at that particular time, and our kids are probably going to be further behind,’ she said.”