Closed Colonial classrooms being rented to third party for “School-Age Care for Virtual Learners”

The Colonial School District is leasing larger spaces within Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and Colonial Elementary School to non-profit Wonderspring for its new Colonial School Age Program. Wonderspring has and will continue to offer before and aftercare as well.

The new program is being offered due to the Colonial School District reopening with a fully virtual program. The Colonial School Age Program is touted on Wonderspring’s website as follows:

Colonial School Age Program provides school age care for virtual learners as well as high quality before and after school care to children attending kindergarten through fifth grade in the Colonial School District. Our School-Age Care for Virtual Learners provides academic support and a 1:12 teacher student ratio. The program takes place in school district schools and offers ample space for social distancing. Additionally, to help keep our children, staff and families safe, Wonderspring has implemented health and safety policies and procedures that align with CDC guidelines. The Before Care program begins at 7 a.m. and runs until the school day begins, and the After Care program continues from school dismissal until 6 p.m. All Before and After Care programs take place in each of the Colonial School District’s elementary schools. 

These programs offer engaging, educational experiences that add value to children’s out-of-school time. Students study literacy, math, art, and science and participate in age-appropriate activities throughout the school year. The Colonial School Age Program includes positive behavior support in its curriculum to help students maximize their ability to learn, minimize program distractions, and foster positive relationships among peers.

During an August 10th meeting of the district’s Facilities Management & Transportation Committee, Superintendent Dr. Michael Christian stated that about 320 families from its existing client base were interested in the program and would potentially take on more families if space was available.

The below video is queued to the brief conversation about the program.

Below is an image of an email marketing piece being sent to parents about the program.

We spoke to one parent who registered for the program. The parent stated, “It was that (register for the program) or leave my job… or transfer him to private school. It is crazy to have to pay for care that will happen in the school building when the schools are not opening… but we felt no good alternatives.”

We are told that pricing is as high as $225 a week based on attending five days a week.

Let us know what you think about the use of closed public school classrooms being used for this type of for-a-fee program.

UPDATE – We are now told that the spaces being rented are gyms.