Goodwill Omaha Asks Customers to ‘Round Up’ for CUES Schools

All three schools offer summer enrichment for students affected by remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic

For students across the nation, remote learning due to COVID-19-related school closures brought learning challenges, but the most significant has been academic learning loss. McKinsey & Company estimates that pure and hybrid remote-learning environments put U.S. students behind an average of seven months from where they would be if they’d been learning in the classroom[1]. Even more alarming: McKinsey estimates students of color suffered more significant learning loss than white children — as much as 9.2 months for Hispanic students and 10.3 months for Black students.

To help Omaha’s children in low-income homes catch up, Goodwill Omaha’s retail stores are rounding up for the CUES School System throughout the month of June, with all donations supporting its “Summer of Learning” program. Through June 30, customers at all Goodwill Omaha locations can round their purchase amounts to the next dollar — or higher — and Goodwill Omaha will donate all of the rounded-up money to the CUES School System.

This summer, CUES Schools — which comprises Sacred Heart, All Saints, and Holy Name schools — is proposing a bold idea to our community: For the first time, all three east Omaha schools are offering summer programming to help students maintain and improve on academics, social and emotional learning, and enrichment opportunities. By keeping students connected to their schools during the summer months, CUES hopes to continue its mission of providing quality education to students while supporting families in need.

“Summer enrichment will provide our children with an opportunity to be with friends in a safe environment, while improving upon their language and math scores and engaging in STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and math] activities,” said Fr. David Korth, president, CUES School System. “We are calling it ‘summer enrichment’ instead of summer school because the programming includes field trips and STEAM-related activities, which most of our students have not been part of for over a year.

“With the closure of community programs due to the pandemic,” Korth continued, “our children are eager to experience learning activities with their friends in a face-to-face environment. We’re extremely grateful that Goodwill selected our schools for its quarterly round-it-up campaign.”

The CUES “Summer of Learning” program will be offered at no cost to families with students at a CUES school. The main hope for the program is to provide not only education but also support for children who are having a tough time emotionally. The social interactions with their friends will help them catch up on social and emotional skills.

“The pandemic has affected people in many ways,” Korth said. “School is a place for academic growth, and it’s also a place to learn about relationships with friends and family. We teach children how to get along with others and how to properly handle situations when they don’t get along. We’ve seen that in-person classroom learning is something we truly need and that remote learning doesn’t work for every child.”

CUES has issued an appeal to the community to raise $100,000 to fund its “Summer of Learning” program, and Goodwill Omaha hopes the round-it-up campaign can help the organization get closer to its goal.

Early research suggests that pandemic-related academic learning loss could cause the average K–12 student to lose up to $82,000 in earnings throughout their lifetime. “We believe it’s crucial to the future success and well-being of our community for students to have access to high-quality learning opportunities this summer, so they have the chance to catch up,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “To us, it makes sense to support education, and the CUES School System is certainly a worthy cause.”

About CUES School System

The CUES School System is a bold educational initiative providing centralized leadership and governance to three urban elementary schools in Omaha, Nebraska, serving a majority of low-income students and families. We combine innovative instructional methods with comprehensive student and family support in a Catholic faith-based environment to create and sustain excellent and measurable outcomes that benefit not only the students we serve but also the entire community.

For more information about the CUES “Summer of Learning” program and appeal, please visit CUESSchools.org/summer-appeal.

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know the mission at the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, discover independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Rockville, Maryland, and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.

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[1] “COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime.” By Emma Dorn, Bryan Hancock, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, and Ellen Viruleg. McKinsey & Company. June 1, 2020. McKinsey.com.

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