EDMO® Stands for Equity
All is a big small word. We believe in it. More importantly, we design with it. All children should have access to high-quality STEAM & SEL programs that prepare them with both academic and social-emotional skills. All children should have equal opportunity to become innovators, educators, researchers and leaders who can solve the challenges facing our world.
We’re a work in progress. As we evolve through the COVID-19 crisis, we’re committing to a sustainable equity design to achieve our mission. If your values align with those reflected in our systems and our advocacy below, please enroll, donate and partner with us.
Honor System Pricing
We had the best of intentions, but the old pre-COVID way of doing financial aid is inequitable. At our fee-based in-person sites, families who could afford full price got the first choice of weeks. Families experiencing hardship or crisis had to fill out forms and wait weeks (or even months) for us to “approve them.” Then they were offered a choice of spots that were less likely to sell out. That’s how most camps operate. That’s the old way.
We sustain equity because you stand for equity. Honor System Pricing allows us to serve everyone at the same time. We publicly post 50% and 80% Off Honor Codes next to the price of our small group, online programs. This creates space for people to lead with their values. Parents decide with the click of a button if they can afford our programs or if they need financial aid. Parents decide if their child deserves a quality education and if all children deserve a quality education. Parents decide if they stand for diversity and inclusion. People have the power in this system. This is a new way.
We left the old Sliding Scale page up we can share what we’ve learned from our mistakes with others. That’s part of our EDMO Method®.See the old system.
The Equity Edge
When you design for equity internally, you inevitably bump up against inequities externally. Our online curriculum is a great example. We know many fortunate kids have a PC or Mac. We also know many kids only have a district-provided Chromebook or smartphone. So every day we offer multiple sessions for every type of device. Sadly, we also know some kids don’t have any technology or internet access. Will we stop creating high-quality learning programs because of it? Nope. Will we partner with people in power to overcome the digital divide? Yup.
We’re going to keep pushing ourselves to find more equity edges, both internally and externally. As we encounter them, we’ll call them out publicly. We’ve got a long way to go. We’ll need help from parents and partners if we’re going to create real systemic change during this crisis.
Good Living Wages
Restaurant industry workers and out-of-school time industry workers have a lot in common. Both are service-oriented and most make minimum wage (or very close to it). We want to be part of the change to create living wages for people who choose the noble profession of helping raise the children of others. We believe youth development professionals are worth more than the bare minimum. With the support of parents and partners who stand for equity, we can shift this old paradigm and create a new one that values teachers, after school workers and summer camp staff who dedicate their lives to helping children reach their full potential.
Since 2004, we’ve hosted our award-winning camps in affluent neighborhoods, middle-class neighborhoods and neighborhoods most impacted by systemic inequality. Over the years we’ve learned that “equity” doesn’t just mean giving everyone the same thing. We need to provide academic and emotional supports that address the specific needs of kids, staff and the communities we serve. That’s why our online and in-person camps include:
- Credentialed SEL (Social Emotional Learning) & STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) Coaches to support campers and staff
- Staff recruited from local community and agency partners
- Curriculum modifications for kids who are above grade-level and below grade-level
- Trauma-informed staff training
- Bilingual staff, leadership and materials
- Almost free or free tuition for families in financial need.
If we’re going to create new systems that ensure all humans thrive in our post-COVID future, we’re gonna have to do some serious soul searching.
Parents: Can we lean into our values? Can we be curious about the well-being of kids outside of our own child’s neighborhood or school? Can we take courageous actions to level the learning field? Can we shift our collective mindset from “my child deserves quality education and enrichment” to “all children deserve a quality education and enrichment”? Can we create sustainable educational equity?
District & Government Officials: Can we make free internet, remote learning devices and high-quality distance learning programs a reality? Can we extend federal and state relief for child care providers, after school and summer providers during the Covid-19 crisis? Can we make sure ASES/21st Century grants get paid the rest of the year and next year? Can we ensure the health, safety and education of all families during the next lockdown? Can we make equity the law?
Foundations: Can we take a collaborative approach with non-profits instead of a prescriptive one? Can we give because we believe in a mission, not just because it lines up neatly with a logic model or a data point? Can we move away from the old system power dynamics? Can we convince those with privilege, that we must redesign the educational, financial, health care, criminal, any and every system that creates inequality? Can we help people learn one of the greatest lessons of the moment? We are all connected.