The following was provided by Newport Partnership for Families.

Students at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Summer Learning Camp (MLKCC) and Boys and  Girls Club of Newport County (BGCNC) raise Monarch Butterflies with the help of Kristyn Woodland from the Newport Tree Conservancy. Students observed firsthand the butterfly’s lifecycle (egg, larva, pupa,  and adult) culminating with the release of the butterflies into the wild. This hands-on learning opportunity was part of the larger Reading Reaps Rewards Summer Learning Initiative (R3), completing its 20th year.  

Program Overview 

The Reading Reaps Rewards Summer Learning Initiative welcomed 199 Newport students this summer at three learning sites: Boys and Girls Club of Newport County (BGCNC), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Community Center (MLKCC), and East Bay Community Action’s Newport Family and Child Opportunity  Zone’s (NFCOZ) Summer Learning Academy at Pell Elementary School. In conjunction with Newport  Public Schools and spearheaded by Newport Partnership for Families, the six-week summer learning collaborative effort allows students to maintain academic gains and avoid the “summer educational slide” that occurs for many students. Students have daily literacy and math activities taught by certified teachers, engage with peers in learning activities, and enjoy field trips and guest presenters from local partnering organizations including: Sail Newport, Norman Bird Sanctuary, Save the Bay Exploration  Center, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Preservation Society of Newport, and Aquidneck Community  Table’s Community Garden. This year’s newest partner, Gnome Surf, allowed several students to learn how to surf at Second Beach. Each of these outlets provided plenty of real-life learning opportunities. 

Student testing data overwhelmingly supports the value of the Reading Reaps Rewards program on participant’s literacy and math scores. Preventing the summer slide is more important now than ever,  with the significant losses in education many children have experienced during the past year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. R3’s Education Coordinator, Colleen Crotteau, a veteran Pell Elementary  School teacher, keeps tabs of student progress and program data to ensure program quality. R3 also receives technical support through United Way by Maryclaire Knight of Knight Consulting to ensure the highest level of summer educational programming.

We’re grateful to our team, summer learning teachers, program partners, students and their families for their enthusiastic participation. A special thanks to Newport Partnership for Families’ program funders: United Way of Rhode Island, Women United, van Beuren Charitable Foundation, Bank Newport, Rhode  Island Foundation’s Newport County Fund, NewportFed Charitable Foundation, 21st Century Community  Learning Center Fund, Stride Memorial Foundation, and Newport Public Schools.  

Looking ahead to summer 2022, R3 will welcome the Newport County YMCA as a fourth summer learning site. We look forward to having the YMCA join the collaboration and for additional children to benefit from this program. If you or your organization is interested in learning more, please contact  Kathleen M. Burke, Newport Partnership for Families Executive Director at 401-245-2651 or Reading Reaps Rewards is grateful for community financial support.  If you would like to make a donation to the program, please visit our website:  

About Newport Partnership for Families 

Established in 1990, Newport Partnership for Families seeks to develop and maintain a coordinated network of partners that work together to strengthen families and enhance the quality of life in Newport,  RI. With over 40 members, our collaborative efforts include: Reading Reaps Rewards Summer Learning  Initiative, Age Friendly Newport, and Family Safety and Security. Fall 2021 will mark the transition of the  Newport Working Cities Collaborative to the Partnership with a focus on equitable workforce development and educational/career opportunities. More information can be found on our website: 

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...