Updated: Apr 6, 2021
When Hamilton County teachers Brittany Harris and Colleen Ryan noticed a decrease in student reading scores and a lack of transportation support for families, they wanted to help. Nearly three years ago, during their participation in PEF’s Teacherpreneur, their idea for The Passage was born. Through funding support from Teacherpreneur, they purchased a bus, which they turned into a mobile classroom for their community. The Passage's mobile classroom provides students + families a positive learning alternative to meet their needs, both with education and with transportation.
During Remake Learning Days this week, Harris and Ryan stationed their mobile classroom outside of Rivermont Elementary for their first summer S.W.A.G. event (Students Working on Achieving Gains). The motivation behind this event was to stop the summer slide. Ryan explained the summer slide occurs when students don't go to school in the summer, and they digress in their reading or math scores. “We have created lesson plans inside of a bag, which includes six to seven books and contains all the materials that both the parents and students need to be able to stop their summer slide,” shared Ryan. In addition to the tangible education materials provided in these bags, the lesson plans also include scannable QR codes, where a video of either Harris or Ryan appears explaining the lesson plan. “The purpose of this event is to give families resources they can use in the summer,” said Harris. "These are direct, instructional materials with rich texts and lessons associated with them. Within the summer, they don’t just read a book, but they’re also able to have resources with them in order to maintain or increase their reading level." *Fun fact – Normal Park’s VW eLab students designed the bag’s graphics! And a huge thank you to Shelter Church for donating the bags themselves.
When asked about what their experience with the mobile classroom has been like thus far, Ryan shared, “The Passage has been amazing to be able to build community and to have connections with those parents. As teachers, we get excited to build that relationship.” Harris also shared what the experience with The Passage means to her, stating, “It’s an amazing resource for families. To be able to support the parent, the student, academics, overall behavior, and relationships has been so moving.”
During Tuesday's event, Harris and Ryan distributed 38 bags to families + students! Didn’t get a chance to stop by Rivermont this week? No worries, as The Passage plans to host their S.W.A.G. event all summer for grade levels K-5! “We will start going into other communities and giving these books and lesson materials out,” shared Ryan. Those who attended the event also received The Passage’s contact card in their S.W.A.G. bag. Families can contact Harris and Ryan to receive a mobile visit to their house, where they will conduct a lesson with the parents + students. Through the help of another grant, The Passage hopes to reach at least 100 families or more throughout the summer with the education materials supplied in these bags. “I think it’s important for parents to know that we, as teachers, want them to achieve their best potential,” shared Ryan, “Through this, that’s what we’re getting to do. We’re bringing the classroom to their front door, and we’re getting parents to be empowered in their student learning.”
It’s clear that The Passage is going above and beyond for their community. We at PEF are thankful for all they do to provide families + students an educational outlet of support + growth, and we are proud to be part of witnessing and supporting their inspirational journey.
*Scroll through the slideshow below for more photos from the 5/14 event:
*To stay up-to-date with the latest news for The Passage, including more pictures from events + additional locations of their summer S.W.A.G. tour, you can follow them on their social media platforms: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter