Equity, wellness and academic achievement are the three themes underlying the newest phase of ABACUS, Hamilton Community Foundation’s initiative to increase the likelihood that young Hamiltonians will graduate high school and access post-secondary opportunities.
“We learned a lot from five years of ABACUS,” says Rudi Wallace, Vice-President, Grants & Community Initiatives, “especially about the multiple influences on a child’s educational success. Transitions, mental health, sense of belonging and a host of factors beyond academic support all play an important part. This is the context for ABACUS Phase II.”
Since its 2016 launch, ABACUS has focused on the middle-school years as a crucial pivot point for students in going on to post-secondary education. Now, based on research and consultation, HCF has refined ABACUS to better achieve its goal. This includes:
- An increased focus on the transition into and out of middle school, especially the transition into Grade 9.
- Reading and numeracy in the earlier years.
- Incorporating components of overall social and emotional wellness.
- Addressing the needs of students historically underserved in the education system, including those who are Indigenous, Black, racialized, Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ among others.
The pandemic interrupted learning for many students; ABACUS Phase II targets reading and numeracy where this interruption is more pronounced through a pilot for students in Grades 4 and 5. It also focuses on the transition out of middle school and into high school with support for students through Grade 9 and into Grade 10.
“ABACUS Phase II reflects the importance of continually adapting to changes in the educational landscape to serve Hamilton’s students,” says Rudi. “It’s deeper to address the overall wellness of students, especially those who face the most systemic barriers, and wider to bring in the ‘edges’ of the middle-school years and produce the best opportunities for graduation and post-secondary access.”
Learn more by visiting ABACUSatHCF.ca
From Spring 2022 Legacy newsletter