Scholars Unlimited's (formerly Summer Scholars) mission is to foster academic, social, and emotional growth for children in low-income communities around metro Denver.
Scholars Unlimited has long and deep roots in our community. A volunteer from Park Hill and the school principal at Hallett Elementary began our first summer literacy program for 20 students in 1993. Based on the success of that program, and in recognition of the links between poverty, poor academic performance, and access to new experiences, our co-founders rallied Park Hill residents, educators, and community leaders, to rapidly expand the program. More than 500 students were served in a full-day summer program the following year in 1994.
The success of the summer program, coupled with increasing demand for high-quality after school programming, prompted the expansion to year-round in 2000. Today, Scholars Unlimited annually provides comprehensive summer and after-school programs to over 1,800 elementary students who are experiencing multiple challenges as a result of poverty.
Our programs: Scholars After School, Ready Scholars, Next Generation City Builders, and Summer Scholars support the development of the whole child, by providing intensive literacy intervention, engaging enrichment activities, recreational opportunities, and positive youth development practices that support social-emotional learning.
To accomplish our mission and to create a positive impact, we provide our comprehensive out-of-school programs to low-income elementary-aged students at no cost to families. Our programs support the development of the whole child by providing intensive literacy intervention, engaging enrichment activities, recreational opportunities, and positive youth development practices that support social-emotional learning. This approach is considered "best practice" for out-of-school-time learning programs.
Scholars Unlimited Response to COVID-19:
The year 2020 has presented the families we support with further challenges due to the pandemic, such as job loss, and no access to childcare. Our organization has-at times-become a first stop for help during this health crisis. With the unfortunate onset of COVID-19, we have heard, observed, and felt the feedback from our Black and Latinx families who are being hit especially hard on multiple fronts.
Our return to school has been filled with both challenges and successes. Earlier this year, we made an investment to convert our custom summer curriculum to an online model, using our new Learning Management System (LMS). As a result, we were able to offer our Summer Scholars program, hire our seasonal staff, and engage hundreds of families over the summer months. We are well positioned to repeat this success with the recent shutdown of our partner schools again.
We know that our students also need the social-emotional support threaded throughout the program. Everyone is feeling the fatigue of COVID-19 and our after-school engagement through robust literacy intervention is needed more than ever. In the communities where we are providing programs, there is a high rate of student disengagement, and our online program is another link and support to keep students engaged and learning. Because of this, we have decided to continue doing what we do best: focusing on reading literacy through individualized learning plans with a heavy focus on one-on-one tutoring. This new remote learning experience is providing meaningful student and teacher engagement and learning activities, as we are online, connected, and resilient!
"You covered everything her remote learning this spring missed. Teacher teaching a full lesson, practicing being a good classmate, helping her create projects, read books she loves, and helping her social/emotional needs." -Parent from Park Lane Elementary School
"I am very grateful for all the hard work that everyone did to make this program work for the kids. I appreciate the fact that the teachers were actually online teaching. I know that remote learning/teaching especially young ones isn't easy, but you all did an excellent job!" -Parent from College View Elementary
"I am so happy that my daughter got the opportunity to learn from and work with the teachers from Scholars Unlimited. It has been so wonderful to see her excited to get on calls, to create things, to talk about books that she loves, and then to also think and talk about herself. It was a great well-rounded program and I'm so happy that she got to do it." -Parent from John Amesse Elementary School
"Scholars Unlimited is an incredible program for any student to be a part of. All the staff genuinely care about the students." -Grandmother from Mesa Elementary School
"During the COVID-19 pandemic, Afterschool & Summer Programs faced a challenge like never before. In response they acted on their strengths of being adaptable, flexible, creative, and responsive. Doing whatever it takes to support working families and ensure Denver's youth thrive & succeed!... THANK YOU Scholars Unlimited" -Denver Office of Children's Affairs
"Sinceramente,scholars unlimited me ha ayudado muchísimo,la gente que me ha ayudado es unas personas hermosísimas,Dios los bendiga,me gusta la comunicación que ellos tienen conmigo y mi familia,lo recomiendo al 1000000 porciento, gracias por su apoyo (Google translation - Honestly, scholars unlimited has helped me a lot, the people who have helped me are beautiful people, God bless them, I like the communication they have with me and my family, I recommend it 1000000 percent, thank you for your support)" -Parent from Harris Park Elementary School