Cane Bay Cares has announced that it is expanding its free virtual tutoring for Virgin Islands students through its Operation Inspire afterschool program.
The program will expand to include new workshops and more individual tutoring to support students who are struggling with virtual learning during the pandemic. The updated curriculum will include sign language workshops and presentations on environmental conservation, health and wellness, Crucian culture and other selected topics.
Currently, Operation Inspire is working with 53 students from various schools and is still accepting new students from any school in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Parents and guardians can register their children in grades two through 12 and find schedules for the virtual classes on the Cane Bay Cares website.
The virtual program was created and funded in 2020 through Cane Bay Cares, the charitable giving arm of Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP, in partnership with the St. Croix Foundation. The initial motive behind the program was to supplement shortened schedules in Virgin Islands public schools after hurricanes Irma and Maria hit in 2017, and continued even after school schedules returned to normal, with homework assistance and enrichment programs for public school students. The program went entirely virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding private school students as well.
Through the program, students participate in one-on-one instruction and small group sessions, which are capped at 15 students per class. Small group sessions are typically two-hours long and are divided by grade level. The first hour is dedicated to homework or enrichment assignments, and the second hour is reserved for student-led project-based learning, prioritizing skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, technology literacy, media literacy, innovation, creativity and productivity.
The instructors who facilitate the process are teachers and paraeducators from the Arthur A. Richards, Pearl B. Larsen, Ricardo Richards elementary schools, and St. Croix Educational Complex High School, along with junior instructors who are University of the Virgin Islands students.
Kirk Chewning, co-founder and partner at Cane Bay Partners, described Operation Inspire as an important commitment in facilitating opportunities for young Virgin Islanders to develop skills that are relevant to the workplace.
“Cane Bay, as well as many other local employers, leverage real life and project-based learnings in our analytical work for our clients. Operation Inspire provides entry experiences into the same,” Chewning said. “It is our job to provide meaningful opportunities to assist with the education process and provide opportunities for residents.”
“I strongly believe that we all need to make investments into the children of the Virgin Islands who will be the next leaders of our territory and the businesses within it,” Cane Bay Partners co-founder and partner David Johnson said. “Operation Inspire is an important part of the equation, and we are glad to do our part through this program.”
Project themes by grade level include the following:
• Grades K to 1: Reading and literacy
• Grades 2 to 3: Agriculture and personal development
• Grades 4 to 6: Culture and history
• Grades 7 to 8: Community development and planning
• Grades 9 to 12: Applied math and science
Classes start at 3 p.m. on selected weekdays.