Innovation Learning takes over as Medfords new after school care

MEDFORD, Ore. — In June, Medford School District had announced it would be ending its 40-year partnership with the Medford YMCA for after school care. Instead, it was partnering with a new program, Innovation Learning, for the upcoming school year.

“It’s basically a supplement and an extension of the school day and curriculum that’s what we hope to achieve,” Justin Thibedeau, Area Director for Innovation Learning, said.

Innovation Learning is a Denver Based program that provides academic support, discovery play to help develop social skills like team building and inclusiveness, and STEM education.

Thibedeau says the STEM portion of their curriculum is what sets them apart from other after school programs.

“As they get more skilled in these concepts then we can start using technologies like Ipads for coding or simple robotics.”

Heather Maiorano, whose son attends Innovation Learning at Hoover Elementary, says this is her first time her son has been in an after school program.

She says so far, she likes what they have to offer.

“My first impressions were that it seemed more engaging and more driven by projects and activities,” Maiorano said.

As of now, only five of the 14 elementary schools in the district have this program. Those schools include Lone Pine Elementary, Hoover Elementary, Jacksonville Elementary, Abraham Lincoln Elementary, and Griffin Creek Elementary.

Kids Unlimited will provide after school activities for the remaining nine schools.

“The Medford School District chose for all their Title I schools, the schools that receive some federal funding for the free lunch program, they chose Kids Unlimited to serve those kids for their after school program,” Thibedeau said.

The YMCA will still provide an after-school program for Ruch Community School K-8.

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Blakely McHugh
Blakely McHugh is co-anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and spokesperson for In This Together, a suicide prevention initiative. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA. Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors. Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “hi!”
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